I was reading a short little piece on whether it is a good practice to give everyone a prize in competitive sports - so no one feels like they lost and subscribing to the theory that "everyone is a winner" - we have happily destroyed an entire generation with this, havent' we? A friend of mine once said that we have raised a generation of non-motivated, directionless adults - and she's right. And no, not everyone is in this group, but there's far more then there should be. We spent all of our time telling them that they were all winners, that they should never settle - greatness was theirs. But we forgot one important thing that my generation knew - how to get there or at least how to try. And that it's very ok not to the best, you can be second or even third in line and survive quite well.
Making everyone a winner takes the motivation out, doesn't it? That's why Russia's socialism fell, why should I bust my ass going to college and working my way up when the house cleaner down the road is equal to me? Why bother? So we have a generation that is content to just survive, if I can't be the best why put forth the effort? I went back to nursing school as an adult and I have to say, having to pay for my classes to start was a good motivator. I had been out of school for years so did not anticipate how hard it would be, I got a D in my first A& P class - the first and last D I got. And it was not because I didn't want to suceed , I just did not have enough organization or drive. But that failure was my motivation - I realized I either had to put foot to ass or go back to being a nurse's aide. I did not like failing, I didn't like everyone knowing I had failed - but I didn't give up either. My failure made me want it more and it gave me the drive to go back and stop fooling around. It became the Important Thing, the first thing I HAD to do, not one more thing. And that motivation is why I made of one 88 seats out of over 900 applicants - we can't all be first but that doesn't mean we don't try.
And am I great nurse? Nope, I'm a good nurse and I'm actually more skilled at some things then others. But I AM a nurse - I graduated as one and I earn my living that way. And if I'm being honest - I realize I'm not a great nurse because I don't want to devote that much time to climbing up the ladder. And that's very ok, because there can only be one chief and the person that's willing to devote that much time and effort certainly deserves it. And that's why children should not all get a trophy - only the winners should get one. That does not mean we should make a child - or even an adult feel less worthy because they did not win. It should be a motivation to work hard to improve and try to win - and the trying is what we should also reward. And maybe, just maybe reinforce that it's ok not to be top of your field - it's a win if you can come home every day knowing you did a good job and you did your personal best - I'm not always a winner but I'm always doing pretty darn good and most days, that's more than enough for me.