August 14, 2009

Generation X, Y and T?

So today I did the soccer mom thing and sat with the other parents at practice. Ugh. I was dreading it but knew I would have to do it eventually and it was a nice day so what the heck, lets give it a whirl and see who we're dealing with.

First of all they are all at least 10 years older than me which usually equals: cheesy. Plus, there is always at least one mom who mugs because of it. Sorry, don't be butt hurt because I was cute rocking the leg warmers at 5 and well, you wore them for your senior pictures. Those 10 years and 20 some odd pounds are not my fault sister.

Second, I'm generally anti social with people I don't know because I often find that people are fake. I hate being fake. I would seriously rather have someone tell me what they think than pretend about things. Probably more than that, I prefer to say it like it is than act. I am not uptight or snooty and can't stand people who are. Its so draining.

Well whatever, it turns out that they weren't half bad! Yes I did get the mug and the "ahem, no thanks" on my offer to help as team mom but other than that I was pleasantly surprised.

After the usual conversations about the first day of school, team picture day, PTA programs and the oohs and ahhs over my baby girl, one brave mom decided to bring up the subject of snacks. Now generally everyone knows with sports comes snacks. Some damn person at some time decided that little jr. needed a snack as a reward after each game he played. And some other damn person agreed. And now we as parents are obligated to participate in this crap.

About 4 of us agreed that a half time orange slice was fine but the need for a soda and rice krispie treat after the game at 10 in the morning was unnecessary. One mom sat back doubt stunned by the idea of challenging the snack policy. What the hell were we thinking?!

But oh my we didn't stop there. She went on with this speech about how we are raising the Trophy Generation. This generation of kids who grow up and can't do crap for themselves because we do EVERYTHING for them and don't allow them to experience natural consequences, such as...

LOSING. Losing is part of playing. If you are afraid of losing then don't play. If you can't bust your ass hard enough to win, thats OK. It happens. You will not always be the best. BUT, do not expect to be rewarded anyway! I told my daughter (who is 8) that at the end of the season if they don't win that she will not get a medal or trophy anyway, even if the rest of her team does. She looked a little concerned and asked "but I thought this was for fun?".

"Yes honey you are right. But winning is fun. So is learning. So when you don't win its time to look at what you did wrong or just what you can do better. Whether you win or lose you take it and learn from it. That is fun."

Last season she played soccer she thought she got a medal no matter what. I explained that she only got a medal if her team placed 1st or 2nd in the division and that every game they played counted toward that placement. Boy you should have seen that girl play after that! She played with a drive and determination that was previously absent.

NOW, I feel it completely appropriate to recognize a player or team with a paper award for improvement or good effort. Thats cool. I also think there is an age that "manning up" on the snacks and participation medal crap is appropriate and one that its not. I think that little little kids still lack confidence and look to their parents for reinforcement. Like 6 and under. They are more impressionable and should have a positive experience in sports so that they actually want to continue (that doesn't mean no rules or consequences). But after that the kitten gloves should come off and truth be told. Sorry, but little johnny is probably not the next Pele. And thats OK. Just don't have unrealistic expectations and undeserved rewards. Please people, just explain to your kid whats going on. He is not the best. Maybe because he started late, he hasn't practiced
as much or maybe he is just better at something else. Even still, that is not a reason to stop playing. My daughter is not that great. Seriously bad sometimes. But I tell her to go, pay attention, learn, try hard and have fun with it.

When we unjustly reward our kids and worse, shield them from natural consequences (shit like, when you play sports, you are likely to make contact with opponents and yes, you may get hit with the ball...more than once) we create a sorry excuse for a decent human being. Someone with zero self discipline and zero respect for authority. Mainly because they see their stupid parents constantly trying to challenge rules. "little johnny shouldn't get a red card for shoving that kid and kicking him on the ground! he didn't know, he didn't mean to, the other kid touched him with his shoulder during play." Whatever.

If the kid really did piss him off to that point well its up to you to teach your kid to stand up for themselves or not (another subject I guess) but do teach them to be prepared to willingly and respectfully accept the consequences of their actions. Whatever they choose. Duh.

Maybe it was our parents who started this crap with us, I don't know. But somewhere along the line we ended up with a bunch of people who are afraid of their damn kids. Afraid to piss em off, to give em a good old fashion ASS WHOOPIN.

Lets raise some hardcore kids who have the discipline and integrity to get some shit done. And yes while a long track later, it starts with things like rice krispies and participation medals. And honey, yes I never thought the day would come that I would agree with you on this but 6 episodes in a row of The Academy got me thinking.


Anonymous said...

Amen sister!

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