I read a great article about Pittsburgh Steelers player, James Harrison and how he would not allow his sons to accept a trophy given to them for just participating.
“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 to 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 u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues”
I have noticed a major shift in society over the past years that has even found its way into the church. A few years ago I had a mother come and express her displeasure that her child didn’t “win” a prize during one of our children’s events. I explained to her that in life not everyone wins and that not ever child won a prize so her child was not the only one that went home without the prize. She still after much debate voiced that its damaging to her child to be left out and he deserved to win too since he had completed the contest we were having.
So was I wrong in not giving in and giving the child a prize? Was I damaging a child for life because of my cold-hardheartedness?
I believe we see many scriptural principles where not everyone receives a reward for doing something in life and I also believe we are taught that entitlement is not something endorsed by scripture. See Proverbs for many scriptures about those who work gain the reward and those who don’t, don’t!
So, How does this translate into children’s ministry? Do we always give prizes to everyone? Do we foster the entitlement mentality in our society?
What can the Church/Parents do to curb the entitlement mentality?