Catering to the Participation-Trophy Generation

The last thing young people want to hear from their elders is, “Well, in my day. . .” Even so, it needs to be said that any young person today who needs a “safe space,” crying room, and canceled classes because of some bit of bad news needs to grow up. If there’s no crying in baseball, there’s also no crying in the day-to-day efforts to become a mature adult where every new day brings with it new challenges.

Young people need to learn how to lose and use losses and failures as teaching moments for future success. Assuming the fetal position every time something does not go well accomplishes nothing. Being squeezed out of your mother’s birth canal is the first lesson on what life’s going to be like. Get used to it and prepare for it!

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The following is just plain pitiful:

“Democratic staffers were so upset over the popular election of President Elect Donald Trump that ‘therapy dogs’ were brought into the U.S. Capitol to soothe their hurt feelings.” (Breitbart)

Nashville school district officials provided its counselors with “special post-election protocols” to help students in the aftermath of the presidential election.

What happened to these kids? It all started when dodgeball was banned from PE and “participation trophies” were given to children so they would not have their feelings hurt because some people won and other people lost. We often forget that people who succeed in one area are often failures in other areas and vice versa. It’s the people who are resilient after a failure who most often succeed.

participation-trophiesJames Harrison is a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He posted the following on Instagram after his children came home with trophies:

“I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best . . . cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better . . . not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy.”

The following is one of the best lines from the animated feature The Incredibles that neatly sums up the Participation-Trophy Generation and the perpetrators of false equality in the name of “justice.” If people refuse to comply, then equality of result will be forced upon us:

Talk to anyone who’s gotten to the top in any field and they will tell you that there’s a lot of failure and disappointment along the way. Thomas Edison (1847-1931) held more than 1000 patents. He was told by his teachers that he was “addled” and was “too stupid to learn anything.” His many failures led to great success only because he never gave up. He failed more than he succeeded. Edison had no formal higher education and was nearly deaf.

Losing isn’t fun, but it’s not the end of the world. Young people are being taught that sameness and a soft landing after a fall are keys to a peaceful social order while at the same time they are being told to celebrate diversity. It makes no sense.

It’s time that we read J.P. Hartley’s 1960 novel Facial Justice that “depicts a post-apocalyptic society that has sought to banish privilege and envy, to the extent that people will even have their faces surgically altered in order to appear neither too beautiful nor too ugly.”


Gary DeMar

Gary DeMar was raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and Reformed Theological Seminary (1979). He has served as researcher and writer at the Christian Worldview ministry American Vision since 1980 and President since 1984. Today he serves as Senior Fellow at American Vision where he lectures, researches, and writes on various worldview issues. Gary is the author of 30 books on a variety of topics – from "America’s Christian History" and "God and Government" to "Thinking Straight in a Crooked World" to "Last Days Madness." Gary has been interviewed by Time magazine, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the BBC, and Sean Hannity. He has done numerous radio and television interviews, including the “Bible Answer Man,” hosted by Hank Hanegraaff and “Today’s Issues” with Tim Wildmon and Marvin Sanders. Newspaper interviews with Gary have appeared in the Washington Times, Toledo (Ohio) Blade, the Sacramento Bee, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marietta Daily Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Chicago Tribune.

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