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“Cap & Gowns and Participation Trophies are One & The Same” by BMW

Recently Pittsburgh Steeler running back posted a video that went viral regarding teaching his children a very important value. I’m here to take that one step further. Check the video below:

For those that lack the interest I’ll summarize. Basically his point is that we as parents should not allow our kids to accept the “awards” they are given by sports organizations for participation. It is important that we allow our kids to experience failure from that they can learn (with our help) how to succeed. Another Steeler James Harrison echos those sentiments check here for more on that.

I mention those ribbons and trophies many of which I have in a box in my basement from my kids many sports endeavours over the last few years to bring up something I’m dead tired of seeing… Let me be very clear:

grad

So now that we are all on the same page, STOP SAYING YOUR CHILD IS GRADUATING FOR PRE-SCHOOL! It’s late May and this time of year should be joyous. What it shouldn’t be filled with is the picture of kids who are 5,10 or 14 wearing a cap and gown, unless your kid is a real life Doogie Howser. I’ve seen so many of these photos recently it’s insane. Even worse are the posts from parents “My baby graduated today High school here we come” or “Lil man is a graduate now 6th grade bound“. NO! NO NO! The cap & gown and participation trophies are one in the same. Trophies should be given to winners, champions, league MVP’s not the 12th man on the Little League baseball team. Similarly a child should only don a cap and gown if he or she has completed a true course of study be it the high school level, post secondary or something beyond. When a child meets the requirements to be sent forward to Kindergarten, Middle or High School those aren’t graduations those are promotions. Think of it like this, most jobs require at the very least a high school diploma or a GED. It’s challenging in any market or financial climate to secure a job without that minimum requirement. Yes they do give you a “diploma” when you promote from one level to another but what those should say is “Certificate of Promotion”. Those aren’t even refrigerator worthy if we are being honest.

To me it was an honor to finally get my cap and gown in high school. I still remember how soggy I was in my graduation suit from the heat underneath that gown. I worked hard while dealing with personal issues. There was doubt even up to the day final grades were tabulated that I wouldn’t make it. Persistence, determination and pure perseverance were all things I developed while at Schenley High School and those tools helped me to make sure that diploma with a specialized seal was obtained. So while  have no issue with celebrating small accomplishments with my kids my wife and I always make sure they understand that this battle of life rages on. It’s vitally important to me that my children have a realistic understanding of how the world works as well as what it means to fail and how it feels to acquire that ultimate victory. Giving them things that should be earned through hard work over time before they’ve earned them makes those real life achievements meaningless.

I get it, I love seeing my son Jaxon in his baseball uniform out there hustling on the field. I love seeing my daughter playing softball or basketball working each day to get better and my baby girl looks cute in her various jerseys and uniforms. More important than how cute they look is the work they put in and them understanding that eventually hard work can be cultivated in a true victory. I can’t wait to see my kids in a cap and gown. I see that as a symbol of success an honest representation of achievement. I wholeheartedly understand why other parents would want their kids to don them early but more important than a capturing your child in a cute moment in time is teaching them the importance of long-term success.

Here are some examples of real life Doogie Hoswers
Sho Yano
Michael Kearney
Adora Svitak
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"Cap & Gowns and Participation Trophies are One & The Same"BlogBMW

brandonw • May 25, 2016


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