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Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Golden Platter of Childhood

The Blue Ridge Mountains Council Pinewood Derby was yesterday.  As a Cub Scout, my son, Alex, was a semi-eager participant.  As a Scout leader, my husband worked to set up the tracks, register Scouts, and run the races.

Alex seemed to have a great time all through registration and the running of the first race.  However, afterward he said he was embarrassed by the results.  You see, Alex's car came in last place amongst all the Bear Scouts in attendance.  How can a parent react to this?  Having watched him build his car, I knew that he had not done his best.  I knew that he had put far fewer hours into the design and structure of his car than in previous years.  I knew that he had only halfheartedly built the car, wishing to spend his time on other things instead.

As a parent, what do you do?  I strongly feel that children should learn that they reap what they sow through natural consequences.  So, I knelt down in front of Alex and explained to him that two things go into winning the derby: hard work and sheer luck.  You can increase your chances by building a car that is designed to go fast, but you can't control who you race against, or the lane in which your car is placed, or any number of other things.  However, if you don't work hard to build the best car you possibly can, then you have a much smaller chance of winning the race.

Unfortunately, I witnessed many parents yesterday who might not believe in natural consequences and the luck of the draw.  There were cars that had obviously been built with the excessive help of the parents.  There were parents trying to skew the race results by arguing with the officials.  There were parents bad-mouthing others because of the way their children performed.

I worry about the futures of these children who have everything handed to them on a golden platter.  Will they ever learn to accept responsibility for their actions?  Will they ever stand on their own?  Will they have the conviction to do what is right, regardless of self?  Or, are we raising a more corrupt generation by coddling them into believing they can do no wrong?

1 comment:

  1. These parents frighten me a bit to be honest and I really don't understand their need to make their children better rather than letting their kids learn how to figure it out themselves. your lad probably learnt a big lesson, what did the others learn - those who cheat win? Arguing gets you a better placing?


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