Hurt your kids feelings today

The sum total of my sporting achievements, so far.

The sum total of my sporting achievements, so far.


That’s right. Hurt your kids feelings.

Tell them that they probably won’t get the music award. Tell them they probably won’t take out the reading award. Chances are they won’t make state in the team. The dux? Forget about it.

There seems to be a push to stop hurting kids feelings. Not having winners or losers in sports. Not having school dux. Not having exceptional achievement awards. These days, every kid seems to win a prize.

I’ve won two sports awards in my 32 years on God’s green earth. That was in 1988. I got two third places in the running and marathon.I got third because there was only two other boys in my age group racing. I’ve still got the ribbons. It was at that point, in kindergarten, that I realised, I sucked at sport.

Anyone who’s lived in the real world realises that life has winners, life has losers, life has those that give it their best shot and grab every opportunity and others who squander whatever they have.

What’s better? Is it better to gloss over universal truths of winning or losing, or is it better to instill in our children positive self-esteem, an attitude of ‘giving it a go’, of fostering their talents, gifts and a willingness to tackle their weaknesses?

We seem hellbent on not offending people these days. The term ‘keep it politically correct’ comes to mind. What would you rather? A child (who eventually turns into an adult) who’s never been taught to nurture their talents and confront their weaknesses, or a child who relishes in new opportunities, who knows how to play fair, who gives it their best shot and who can win and lose like a champion?

So go on. Hurt your kids feelings. Not everyone can be first, but everyone can try their hardest. Not everyone will win, but everyone can be a team player. Find your children’s talents. Nurture them. Encourage them to appreciate differences in others. It’s not going to diminish your children’s effort and talent – it will teach them how to shine!



  1. Karen

    Kinda wishing WordPress had a like button so I could express my appreciation of your words without having to think up some lame comment ;P

  2. cathmae

    Hmmm. I agree with the last paragraph. Not sure why we need to hurt our kids feelings to accomplish these things. You were joking about that though. Right?

  3. winthinmymind

    I can see where you are coming from, thank you for your post. Interesting read, good insight. When I was a kid, I remember being in a sporting relay competition. At the conclusion, everybody got a little purple “consolation” ribbon prize. I’m sure some of the others might have felt pride in it, but it wasn’t importNt to me because I didn’t win 1st, 2nd or 3rd at the relay. I knew my cheap little ribbon was just to make us all feel included, so it didn’t mean anything special. After a lot of these same type of experiences, I would think common consolation ribbon giving so the kid gets something could have a desensitizing effect rather than a boost to confidence as it’s meant to. Thanks for the interesting read, gave me something to think about.

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