The Rewards of Earning a Participation Ribbon

We miss learning experiences when we focus on winning

Whether it’s middle school, high school, or college, June is the season of graduations. I recently attended our daughter’s 8th grade promotion ceremony. At these ceremonies, the main event is announcing the awards. Achieving something is what matters. The emphasis is on the winners.

The message: It’s not enough to participate — winning is what counts.

I’m wondering if this is true.

Let me ask you. If you received awards in school, do you still have them? If so, do you know where you keep the awards now? For me, they’re in a cardboard box labeled “Memories” that I only open when we pack to move (about every five years). I doubt I’ll be opening the box for next two decades, at least.

How many times do we avoid an activity or learn a new skill because we tell ourselves, “Oh, I’m not going to be good at it, so I’m not even going to sign up.”

“Not going to try.”

“If I’m not going to excel, why play at all?”

If we feel pressure to be good at something before we participate, then I think we limit our experiences in four big ways: Continue reading The Rewards of Earning a Participation Ribbon