Stop Sanctioning Mediocrity!


My plan for this blog is that it will be a place to have fun and escape from the “stuff” of everyday life (read: housework).  And I hope to keep away from too many serious subjects.  But every now and then I come across an article, issue, or topic that screams to be addressed.

This morning, during my normal morning quiet time/prayer time, my husband brought the following article to my attention:

“Massachusetts principal calls off Honors Night because it could be ‘devastating’ to students who missed mark”
Read more:

Now, I know some will say “Hey, that’s Fox News, so it’s just a biased title trying to get ratings.”  And maybe they’re right.  (As if other news organizations don’t do the same thing!)  I digress…

Anyway, here’s what I have to say:  WTF???

Why on earth have we, as a country, decided that success is a bad thing?  I have absolutely had it with our schools, our media, and our government trying to make everything completely equal.  Are you kidding me?

The principal in this story claims that it is not fair that some kids have more support at home than others.  Hey buddy, that’s life.  Families are made up of people…people have flaws…some greater than others.  And all families have issues.  What about the kids whose parents, on one hand, are good about helping them with academics, but never taught them to catch a ball?  Those kids must “feel bad” when they don’t make the baseball team, or when the football team makes it to the championship level.  So are we going to quit having try-outs, too?

And how about the kid who doesn’t make it to the All-State Band or Orchestra because his parents couldn’t afford to have himtake music lessons?  Are we going to punish the future Yo-Yo Ma’s of the world and not recognize them for sharing their gifts of beautiful music with the rest of us?

Or what about Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Super Bowls, World Series’, Stanley Cups, etc?  Those events make other actors, musicians, and athletes “feel bad,” right?

Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Christoph WaltzCome on!  These events exist so we can celebrate with people who have made the most of their gifts.  And many of them did not have support from home.  That is all the more reason we should celebrate them.

Some will say that it is different because they are adults.  Not true.  There is not a “switch” that turns on once a child reaches adulthood.  If a child is raised to be mediocre, he will become a mediocre adult.  Instead, let’s raise them with “fire in their bellies.”  They might not achieve their goals.  But if they have the hope of some type of reward, they will reach much farther than they would if there was no incentive other than “the feeling of knowing you tried your best.”

Plus, kids and teens naturally are more concrete.  They rarely do something for an abstract feeling.  There has to be something to “reach for,” much like a donkey pulling a cart chasing after a carrot on a stick.  If you just plop the carrot down on the ground in front of him where he can reach it, then he has no incentive to go anywhere at all…nothing gets done.

The point is this: we all have strengths and weaknesses.  And there are venues to celebrate strengths.  Our athletes, musicians, actors, etc. are allowed to celebrate.  Why not the kids whose strengths are academic?  For many of the academically inclined students, this is their only chance to shine.  Why on earth would someone, whose very line of work is in the education field, want to take that away from them?

And as for the argument about kids not having support from home: instead of making that “okay” and giving lame parents a “pass,” let’s turn up the heat.  Let’s draw them in and give them a reason to help their kids rather than alienate them further.  I know that not every kid will achieve great success, despite his or her best efforts.  But let’s help them build the “work ethic muscle.”

America, let’s quit accepting mediocrity and start demanding, and celebrating, excellence.

5 thoughts on “Stop Sanctioning Mediocrity!

  1. My four children are now grown and starting their own families. It was happening way back….one of my sons (the 29 year old) got 3 trophies one year. Playing on a 6-year-olds’ baseball team. Ridiculous! On the third trophy, I refused to pay for another one. The other parents thought I was mean and cruel. I thought they were the cruel ones, setting their children up for later disappointments, when the world would not be so benevolent and silly. No wonder these crazed people are starting to shoot up schools. They’ve never been told “no.” When the world tells them no, they freak out.

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