I am known as “the mother of those three” – energetic, intelligent, competitive, independent boys. The number of complaints I and their father fielded on a daily basis while they were in primary and secondary school grew exponentially as each followed his brother into the hallways of government-run (public) schools.
The main complaint? “They always have to be first.”
Hmmm. Isn’t that the point of education — to encourage children to do their best to succeed? Isn’t that what spelling-bees and team sports encourage — to build intellect and physical ability to achieve?
Why then complain about that spirit that drives a child, a team, a business, a nation to be the best?
Instead, our children are discouraged from excelling, doing their best to win, developing the skills and values they will need to survive as adults. Too many schools coddle their students from the realities of living in a social environment. This accomplishes nothing for the children and encourages the suppression of the natural inclination to compete and achieve.
Yet, in an environment of “no losers” there are no winners. No one gets the prize because everyone gets one. There is no reason to excel or strive or improve when we cannot win. We respond to rewards but in a mistaken effort to prevent ‘hurt feelings’, we allow educators to dampen-down the enthusiasm all children have for winning.
Truly, there are no losers when every child is encouraged to reach the pinnacle of their ability — whatever that pinnacle is. Not every child will be a multi-million dollar sports / music / science / entertainment / arts icon.
But every child has the right to make the effort to be great.
(c) photographs, memes and content 2015 Leigh Verrill-Rhys