I’ve never been much of an athlete. I was too short for basketball, too slow for track and not flexible enough for gymnastics, which is why as I child I guess I turned to writing because it was something I was actually good at. The times that I was forced to participate in sports IE. school field days, I was always the winner of what we called the “purple ribbon” better known as the participant ribbon. Not blue, not red, not yellow, but Barney colored purple and it let everyone know that while you didn’t technically “win” the race, you were still a “winner” because hey, you participated! While some parents stress the importance of trying your best, others, like former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, believe that sometimes participating and simply doing your best isn’t always good enough. Case in point, over the weekend the former NFL player took to Instagram to post a pic of the participant trophies that his sons received for attending a football camp run by his former Steelers teammate Charlie Batch. Harrison is returning the trophies because he feels like his kids need to learn to earn the things they want in life and shouldn’t just be given things just because they “participated”.
Here’s a pic of the trophies that Harrison posted along with this caption:
“I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues ”
It’s worth noting that both the boys are elementary school aged and while I understand the lesson he is trying to instill in them as a parent I do have mixed feelings about this. Yes, you want to always encourage your child to do their best and to not just settle for mediocrity, but you also want to celebrate them even when they try their best but maybe fall a little short.
So what do you think? Is Harrison teaching his boys a valuable life lesson early on or do you think his tough love tactic a little too harsh for the young boys?