Spellling Bea.


I had an interesting conversation yesterday with one of my year 8 boys. We were doing a spelling bee and I still had some fantales left over from my birthday the day before, so I said, “Each team member from the winning team will get a lolly!”

So it was Game On.

After the spelling bee was done and won, a boy from the losing team looked at me, shocked, as I threw a lolly to each winning team member and then put the lolly bag away.

“Don’t we get a lolly?” he asked.

I laughed. “No,” I said. “Your team lost.”

“But we should get a lolly too,” he said. “ForΒ participation.”

Little did he know that saying that to me was like a red rag to a bull.

I hate the whole “give kids a medal/certificate/prize just for turning up.” It cheapens the whole joy of kids actually achieving success and winning a prize because they EARNED it. Participation prizes are a ridiculous, namby-pamby way of trying to bolster children’s self esteem by giving them a totally skewed way of knowledge about how the world operates. And anyway, kids already know this. How many kids actually save and treasure their participation medals? It’s the first, second and third medals or the “best on ground” medals that they really value. They know the Participation prizes mean nothing.

Anyway, this boy didn’t receive a lolly and when he started to chuck a tanty about not getting one (because this is EXACTLY the spoiled sense of entitlement that these participation prizes foster) he got into trouble. It’s a shame because he clearly had no experience so far in life at actually missing out on anything because he and his team didn’t measure up. He was genuinely shocked that he wasn’t getting rewarded. What are we teaching our kids?


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11 Responses to Spellling Bea.

  1. Barb says:

    Oh yes. We’re not doing them any favors are we? I don’t understand the whole * reward everyone for everything* mentality.

    Sorry I missed your birthday yesterday. I hope it was a good one.


  2. Sandi says:

    In the real world, you might get a paycheck for just showing up… but you won’t get one for long.

  3. Urspo says:

    Sensible woman! I fully agree !

  4. Liesel says:

    Hell, yeah. Preach it sister!

  5. Sigh….I get so fed up with this sort of thing….oh you have to give each kid something….they don’t understand it takes away from the kid who achieved and one….and can often stop some kids from trying because they go there is no point because i can sit there and do nothing and still get a prize…and this is why some kids are just useless in the work place…they don’t understand that if they don’t perform they will get kicked out…they think they are there forever and can just do nothing and it will be okay because they will still get rewarded for just making it out of bed and getting to there desk at some stage during the day….drives me nuts the people that insist on this sort of thing happening….it creates kids that can’t handle losing….party games where everyone gets a prize?? Oh come one what is wrong with encouraging kids to win and do their best not sit back on their butts, do nothing and still be rewarded

  6. Liz says:

    I actually don’t think it is much worse than it used to be, we got participation ribbons for sports when I was at school – I kind of like them as at least it reminds you you actually attended (as opposed to wagged and smoked cigarettes behind the bus shelter which I may or may not have done on the odd occasion….). I do think most kids can discern the difference between a participation ribbon and winning an actual event. My feeling is the entitlement thing is different but I am less sure on where it comes from, maybe its always been there too but I’m just more aware of it..or perhaps we can blame John Howard and the rise of Middle Class welfare – I’d like to blame John Howard, I find its usually a good place to start….

  7. Dorothy says:

    In my part of the world children attending a birthday party are also given a gift bag for showing up. That feels like ‘buying’ your friends. Where did this all start?

  8. librarygirl says:

    Could not agree more. Even my 18 y.o. daughter talks about the “special snowflakes” in her year 12 group who’ve never been they’re not marvellous.

  9. Deborah says:

    I went to school before ‘participation only’ rewards. If nothing else, it gave me a clear understanding of my strengths & weaknesses. I soon learned where to channel my energy. The child in that photo is pure evil . . . by the way!

  10. Jenny Howden says:

    Well Froggie, you know what I think – spoilt brats are not my strong point, never have been πŸ™‚ I firmly believe kids have to learn how to lose properly, before they can learn how to win gracefully. Take them to a few dog shows and they’ll soon find out about losing – ain’t that the truth ! Even the best dogs lose sometimes – if the judge is corrupt, or one of the other handlers is a full blown crook ( you know what I mean !) – and this from your favourite Championship Show Dog Judge πŸ™‚ Keep smiling πŸ™‚

  11. Jenny Howden says:

    P.S. – Froggie, meant to say – carna Pies πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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