Somewhere over the last two or three decades, our society has fallen into a state of political correctness where children are taught that everybody wins. Youth sports give out participation trophies and children are always told they are winners by parents, teachers, and public officials. This creates a generation of entitlement, as many people believe that they “deserve” to get good grades, have a great job, earn a high salary, or ultimately be successful in life without putting in the work necessary to achieve that goal. Yes, some people may have to work harder than others to achieve a certain goal, but everyone is capable of doing so.
Many areas of youth sports are guilty of political correctness in the use of participation trophies. By giving everyone an award, winning is devalued and children are not taught how to handle failure. There is then no incentive to work hard to get that trophy and it sets many young kids up for disappointment when they get older, as mediocre efforts are no longer rewarded. Children who have been praised their whole life are likely to shy away from a difficulty for fear of failure. They may take the easy way out, try to cheat, or do the minimum to get by, yet they would still expect to go to a great college or get an offer from a high-paying job. Failure makes people stronger and makes it that much sweeter when people are awarded based on their merits.
I propose that we reinstate the merit-based society that was seen in previous generations and help children learn at an early age that they will not be given things in life and that every accomplishment must require a certain amount of work. If we transition away from a society of entitlement, we will restore the American Dream mentality among U.S. citizens. The change mainly will come from society as a whole, as parents, teachers and public officials must make conscious efforts to let the children fail.