A friend posted a meme this morning that said something like: “I’m afraid to live in a world run by adults who were never spanked and got an award just for participating.”
The responses were immediately in favor, with the “AMEN!” and the “TRUTH!” comments being the overwhelming majority...but as a mom who has both a kid on the spectrum and another in every sport imaginable, all I could see was the total BS in that statement. My first thought was; “Well that’s just stupid! I’m much more afraid to live in a world run by adults who were beaten as kids and given scholarships just for being good at a game.” or worse, kids who were spanked for not winning!
My next thought was, that quote was clearly written by a person who hasn't disciplined a child or attended a kid’s sport since Leave it to Beaver was the American standard for parenting.
Anyone who attends kid’s sports today knows that the biggest reason children aren't inspired to play anymore is because so many parents suck! Seriously, what kid wants to stand out on playing field and be berated and humiliated for missing a pop fly by a parent whose greatest physical feat to date was walking from the bleachers to the concession stand and back?!
What kid wants to attend 5+ practices and multiple games a week in stifling heat, rain, snow, tsunamis...you name it, while their parents sit in their air-conditioned car, posting on Facebook or chatting with friends about who is bringing the jello shots to the bon fire after the game?!
As a sports events promoter for most of my life, I have seen more parents who needed a spanking than kids. That truth became evident when parents had to be physically corralled to keep them from assaulting their child at the finish line for not achieving their “personal best” or earning a spot in the winner’s circle.
And as far as the apparent absurdity of “getting an award for participating”...I DARE you to find an amateur sporting event today where each participant isn’t given a t-shirt, ribbon, magnet, mug or some other token chatchkey “just for participating”. In fact, the prize has become the basis for participation in all well attended events these days...yet we want to blame the “fear of a world gone bad” on a 9 year old getting a damn ribbon at the end of soccer season to thank them for being part of the team?! I call Bullsh*t. That’s not pampering, that’s gratitude and consideration...and I know plenty of parents who could benefit from learning those virtues.
Parent Nation, we have become so quick to blame our kids for all our issues, but the truth is, if we flip the mirror around, it’s us who are to blame.
We are the a-holes screaming obscenities at 8 year olds in front of their coaches and 50 of their closest friends over simple rookie errors. We are the ones demanding material “Thank You’s” as proof of our participation and sacrifice of our precious time. We are the ones who want to scold our kids for not reaching our expectations for them - even though they did the best they could. And we are the ones who expect free rides for our kids on everything from high school grades to college scholarships, based not on their intelligence, but on their ability to play a game.
What it all boils down too is the fact that it has become cool to allow the world to think we should fear for our future because someone didn't spank their kid enough or because they acknowledged a kiddo’s willingness to be part of team, even when the adults made it miserable for them to do so.
Truth be told, that’s the kind of angry, unappreciative world I am really afraid to live in. In my opinion, what our kids really need, is an award for tolerating parents today.