We host Easter at our house & this year we decided to something a little different with the Easter egg hunt. Since it is exhausting filling all those eggs with candy we decided to just put some cash and coins in a few, and leave the rest empty. Instead, we would have all the kids collect the eggs then turn them in for a big bag full of candy. On Easter morning my hubby ran out to get a few last minute items, and he came home with chocolate bunnies. A BIG bunny for the kid who got the most eggs, then slightly smaller chocolate bunnies for everyone else. (in addition to the bag full of candy) Seems like a great idea… right?
So the egg hunt was a hit (like usual). In the end, my nephew got the most eggs, 40! Hudson and my other nephew tied, with 39 each. The rest of the egg hunters got less, but it didn’t matter, everyone had a great time. Until we announced the winner. The adults all clapped and we gave my nephew his big bunny prize. Then we realized the other kids were crying. (except for one girl.. she was like “whatever.. I got candy anyway.. lets go back in the pool.” Love her.) My son pitched the biggest fit so I sent him to his room. We calmed down the rest of the kids and then I went to talk to him. He was wailing.
Really? Everyone should come in first? That’s when I realized at almost all the kids events we go to, and even in the sports teams he has played on, there really isn’t a first place anymore. It is more the ‘everyone gets a medal’ or ‘we are all winners’ mentality. Even at his school, during field day the kids don’t win or lose. The only time there is actually a ‘winner’ is when they play the teachers at tug-of-war. And guess who always wins?
This whole non-winner movement is really, really annoying. I think many parents are with me on this one. I lost growing up. A lot. I sucked at sports. (still do) I would always want to try the same activities my friends were doing, and then once I realized how bad I was, it was too late, since my mom wouldn’t let me quit. So I got used to being the worst person on the softball team, AND the soccer team, AND the track team. When I was younger it was hard, especially since I had super athletic neighbors, who were really good at sports.
But in 4th grade I joined the debate team and I was REALLY good at it. And I knew I was good at it because I would WIN debates. See with a debate, not everyone can win. Kind of defeats the purpose. I didn’t win them all, but when I did I felt a sense of accomplishment. I worked hard for that win & I deserved it.
I am worried my son isn’t learning these lessons, since he ALWAYS wins. And I had proof of that this weekend, watching a chocolate bunny send him over the edge. I was disappointed (& embarrassed) with his reaction, but I didn’t immediately know what to do. At that moment, I simply told him he can’t always win, and that he should be happy for his cousin. Then I told him he could sit in his room and cry or go congratulate his cousin and continue playing. (during those forced congratulations, my son also tried to convince his cousin to split the big bunny with him, since they were so close) On Monday, I had a talk with him about winning & losing and why not everyone can come in 1st. He said he understood, but I guess only time will tell.
What do you think? Is an ‘everyone wins’ mentality making our kids losers?