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Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Participation awards

Remember when we were little and we would have competitions, and if we won there was always a big celebration, pat on the back or even an award you could take home? Or if you didn’t win, there would always be someone there to reassure you with a “you did your best” speech and that was it? This wasn’t the case for everyone, of course, because of the many educators or sports coaches who subscribe to the idea of giving participation awards to the losing party.

On paper, participation awards sound like a great idea. If we didn’t know any better, we would call it a nice thing.  It teaches our youth to accept their losses as they come and kids don’t feel so bad about themselves afterwards. On the other hand, it doesn’t leave our youth with enough incentive to try to win. Softening the losses with awards and congratulations for a good effort might not be as beneficial to them as it seems on paper. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Participation awards