Nov 10, 2016

Millennials to America "Where's My Participation Trophy?"

Today's note isn't really about the election outcome except to say that I have been unhappy with our Presidents for a generation, so for those who aren't happy with this one, get over it.  This too shall pass.  

Personally I'm cautiously optimistic that a non-affiliated moderate President sympathetic to business needs combined with a Republican House and Senate could end the eight year dismantling of the business friendly country we live in and begin the rejuvenation of the middle class.

Now, for today's topic.  I was involved in a group chat yesterday with my nephew and son, discussing the election.  They are both millennial college students, one at Oregon and one at St. John's, neither bastions of conservatism.  They were both very pro-Trump, obviously making them outliers on their respective campuses.  Both are athletes at their school, which will be relevant to this story.  

They were both relaying the despair that was spreading across their campuses as students were crying and agonizing over the election results.  I was in shock hearing what they had to say about their classmates' reaction.  I will save the story about my nephew being kicked out of an anti-Trump rally for another day.

As I read news reports on the election, my attention became gripped on the reactions across college campuses. I wasn't so much interested in the protests, but instead the response of administrators and professors.  These headlines almost made milk come out of my nose:
Colleges Try to Comfort Students Upset by Trump Victory
Despair over Clinton's Loss Prompts "Cry-in" at Cornell
 Play-doh for the Distraught
 University of Illinois Sets up Safe Spaces for Precious Snowflakes
 Trumpophobia Melts Snowflakes
 Then I read about a Yale professor cancelling a mid-term because of students being distraught.  Students at the University of Michigan playing with Play-Doh and coloring in coloring books in an effort to self-sooth. The President of that same university saying it will take "quite some time to completely absorb the results".  St. John's having a town hall to discuss peoples "feelings" about the election.  I even heard unconfirmed rumors of schools shutting down for the day.  


I think this ludicrous reaction is a direct result of participation trophies in youth sports and the associated logic that goes along with them.  These delicate snowflakes don't understand winning and losing.  Competition is about competing, winning, losing and then learning the lessons from both results.  People who have never lost cry when they lose because it isn't about the competitive process, it's because they didn't get their guaranteed results.  Try and you'll get a reward, even if you fail.  I'll guarantee when you travel back to these kids' homes you see bedrooms full of 11th place ribbons and a ton of "participation" trophies and certificates.  

We raised our children with a different mentality.  My kids took pride in throwing their participation awards in the trash.  Their bookshelves are packed with trophies, their walls covered with awards, NONE for participation.  All for winning or earning an honor.  Succeed and you get a reward, fail and you learn a lesson. 

One of my proudest moments as a parent was when my son's high school football coach said at his senior banquet "in 25 years of coaching I've never had an athlete more competitive, one more driven to win."  His freshman coach said "he's so driven to succeed he makes everyone else around him better."  

Why did he turn out like that?  Partially genetics, but also a mentality we instilled in our kids that when you fall down you don't cry, you "rub some dirt on it and get back in there."  I've seen my kids not leave the field with broken bones and dislocated joints because they want to compete so badly.  

Today's millennials are under the misunderstanding that equal opportunity means equal outcome.  That's not the case nor how life works in America.  Everyone should have an equal shot but competition dictates that someone wins and someone loses.  The Olympic podium doesn't have 36 spots for participants, it has one at the top.  You shouldn't enjoy losing or failure, but crying about it because you didn't get your participation trophy isn't how life, or elections, work.  

If you're unhappy with the election results, then do something about it.  Make an effort to find a candidate whose views represent yours, yet also a majority of Americans.  Get involved in the process.  You're young and will experience roughly twenty more Presidential elections before you depart this planet.  You won't win them all.  Deal with it.  

When you eventually graduate with your overpriced diploma and your hyper-sensitivities, go compete somewhere, learn how to get your ass kicked and then learn how to fix your inadequacies that led to the loss so you can win the next time out.  You will be more successful in life and a much better employee.  Why do you want to be a better employee?  So people like me, who expect you to show up the day after the election whether your candidate won or lost, don't fire you two days after the election because you needed a PTO (personal time off for the people of my generation who don't know what it means).  

Rub some dirt on it and get back in there.  
"Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won."-Barack Obama, 2009"

1 comment:

  1. This quote from Ned says it all.
    I feel I have been what the Brits call the local opposition my whole life..Except for early Nixon, GHWB, and maybe Carter. I know what it's like to not like the current Admin.

    " . ...unhappy with the election results, then do something about it. Make an effort to find a candidate whose views represent yours, yet also a majority of Americans. Get involved in the process. You're young and will experience roughly twenty more Presidential elections before you depart this planet. You won't win them all. Deal with it. "

    Get some Ned Brines

    Signed Dave Hernandez