August 21, 2015

What’s so Bad About a Participation Trophy, James? And Other Questions We Should Be Asking.

Wiki Commons

Professional athlete, James Harrison, forced his children to return participation trophies because he believes they didn’t “earn” them.

I’m outraged, and I’ll tell you why.

The thing that worries me more than the fact that this story got so much coverage is that most reporters and readers support his decision. I have some questions.

Are they not aware of his previous charge of domestic violence? Or perhaps they choose to ignore it for the lead on the next best story?

If we think this is good news and applaud such a man on this one action over what is an allegedly violent character then how mindful are we?

Why do we continue to follow popular media instead of mindfully investigating and crafting our own opinions?

And when will the media step up and set a precedence for mindfulness and accountability?

My other problem is with the idea of participation trophies and what they stand for. Harrison said on his Instagram post:

“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 up and keep you happy.”

I wonder if he has considered what lessons could his kids be learning if he let them keep the trophies:

1. You earned this trophy for showing up, participating and accepting responsibility to do your best as part of a team.

2. Accept, give thanks, and be grateful for any gift or reward you receive.

3. You might give your all and try your best and still not win. But that’s okay because winning is neither the end goal, nor does it build the greatest of character.

Some people have been comparing this trend of participation trophies to business.

As a business owner, I’d take an upright citizen that knows and can enact the lessons above before I’d an allegedly abusive father who might win but can’t recognize the value in any of the above lessons.

So, let’s be mindful of the media we ingest. Be mindful of the media we allow our children to take in. Let’s craft our convictions carefully and do our homework before we announce that an athlete is a hero because he forced his children to return participation trophies.

Are participation trophies really such a bad thing if the children actually showed up, participated and accepted responsibility to do their best as part of a team?

Most business men and women would give near anything for such character on their team!




Floyd Mayweather’s son’s written account of when his father beat his mom, Josie Harris. (Adult)



Author: Kristi Trader

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

Image: Wikimedia Commons


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