Questioning the title of my post – well, I couldn’t have said it better myself (maybe I could have), but I must admit I have stolen this title from The Bert Show on Q100 in Atlanta. It is on their show that I first heard the ever so eloquently spoken words – Wussification of America.
I have to say, we are getting way out of hand with the controls we are putting on children with regard to them spreading their wings, learning things and excelling! When I was a student I made the Honor Roll and part of the “honor” of being on the Honor Roll was my name being listed in the local newspaper. I looked forward to this momentous event each semester (I think they were called semesters when I was in school). It was a privilege to have your name listed in the paper and a bragging right. I worked my ass off to get on that list. That being said, there were at least 3 levels of classes as I recall. I believe we had remedial classes, the “standard” classes, honors classes and Gifted and Talented. I was in “standard” classes, but I know that if I had worked even harder than I did (and remember…I said I worked my ass off, but I’m sure I didn’t really work as hard as I could have) I could have been in the honors classes. I point out these 3 (4) levels of classes to say this – anyone with a certain grade point average had the potential to be on the Honor Roll – even kids in remedial classes. Everyone had an equal opportunity. So, that makes me question why today (over 20 years since I was in High School) we are stripping kids of the chance to be on the Honor Roll. Why do we feel it is unfair to promote the good work of students? Why can’t kids today have their names on a special list for getting great grades? What makes this way of doing it “more fair” to the other students?
My other problem is with sports – recently a young kid was denied the opportunity to score any more touchdowns in football because “they” (the adults – parents, teachers, coaches, etc) think it is unfair to other kids that this one kid is doing so well. How is that unfair? If he excels at something he should not be held back! What happened to the saying “Use it or lose it?” If this kid isn’t able to keep practicing and scoring he might lose his ability and not go on to get a well-deserved scholarship. I don’t remember if he is a JV or Varsity player – if he is JV, maybe he needs to be Varsity and play with kids more on his level.
Are we going to stop letting kids take college classes at a younger age just because it isn’t “fair” to other kids their age who aren’t at that level? What about Doogie Howser? Are we supposed to hold back child prodigies? Let’s be realistic here – how many people have kids that can use your iPad, iPhone, Android phone, PC or other device better than any adult you know? Are we supposed to stop them from learning how to do these things? You know, if we do, you may not be able to use your phone because you don’t know how it works and you sure aren’t going to take the time to RTFM (read the freaking manual).
I would like all the crazy adults out there who think these are all great ideas (no honor roll, no scoring in sports, blah…blah…blah…) to answer this – when your kid interviews for his/her first job and there are 4 other people applying how do you expect that all to play out? The company isn’t going to hire all 5 people because scoring isn’t “fair.” They are going to hire the best person for the job. What happens when it’s not your kid? How do you explain that after years of not striving to be the best, no winners or losers, and being sure you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings?? All we are doing is encouraging everyone to be mediocre. I’m sick of it.
When I pick a doctor, dentist, mechanic, etc I want the best of group. I don’t want the guy who was the bottom of the class. I want a pilot that is knows the plane inside and out – not someone who just knows he’s on a plane but can’t remember what the big red button is for (just so you know…I have no idea if there is a red button in the cockpit).
I know that some people will read this and think it’s just a ramble, but I think it’s important. We need to start focusing on what’s real and the fact that competition is important and it starts at a young age.
Don’t settle for the way the world expects us to act – train children that competition is good. Keep score! Don’t hold anyone back! Don’t just do good – do great! And don’t feel bad about it. You can be proud of your accomplishments without being boastful and disrespectful of others.
Let’s stop the “wussification” of America!!