Growing up, I’ve never been praised for the little things. Sure, sometimes it would have been great to hear my mother brag about a newfound interest of mine, but overall I think there was a point to that – a method to her madness, if you will. See, with this new generation of students getting trophies just for showing up to their classes, raising your expectations of your students could salvage their futures.
Just glancing over my Facebook feed, I see countless mothers who praise the very ground their children walk on. Not only does it get tiring to see on my screen, but I think it’s slightly damaging to their kids as they grow older. There are young mothers, first-time mothers [first-time fathers, even], and mothers of students who are 20 plus years bragging day in and day out about every single little thing, and it needs to stop. They need a major dose of reality.
For starters, we don’t live in the greatest town that ever existed. There are high pollution rates – we were ranked top 10 in the country – and high teen pregnancy rates – in their defense, there’s nothing better to do in this town, anyways – and high boredom rates. We’re practically the worst town in this state.
Then you get these mothers of 20-somethings who brag that their child got into a college outside of this ho-dunk town, only to move back home a year later with a boyfriend who she swears she’ll marry after only knowing him for ten minutes, and yet we wonder where it all came from. I say it came from being worshipped her entire life.
Something we ought to be teaching our generation and the next generation is how to be tough; to know that they’re not going to win everything in life; that times will be hard – because, believe me, they will be – and that they shouldn’t rely on the success or praise of others to get them through. We ought to teach them that diligent work pays off and that things won’t be handed to them like they’re so accustomed to expecting in their homes. And, most importantly, we should teach them that if they can escape their god-forsaken little town, they should run – run and never look back, even when times get tough. Because sometimes, the tough times shape our character and our work ethic, and we learn how to care for ourselves.
Parents with children: don’t excessively baby them. Don’t spoil them. Don’t do everything for them. Don’t worship bad grades when you know in your heart of hearts they could be better. Don’t give them a trophy for just merely showing up.
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