Are we celebrating mediocrity?
April 7, 2011
“It’s not a graduation, he is moving from the fourth grade to the fifth grade.”
“It’s a ceremony!”
“It’s psychotic! They keep inventing new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but when someone is genuinely exceptional …”
Genuinely exceptional superhero, Mr. Incredible argues his way out of attending his son’s “graduation” with his wife in a scene from the movie “The Incredibles.”
Is Mr. Incredible right? Has our society become obsessed with “celebrating mediocrity,” and even if it has, is it wrong to do so?
In the past couple of weeks I have attended several ceremonies to celebrate children’s accomplishments and after the three hour ceremony of recognizing half, or even all of the kids, I leave with the thought of, “being the best doesn’t mean anything anymore.”
The notion of “everyone is a winner, everyone is special” is false when it comes to the real world. People will argue and say, “Every individual is special, because everyone is different.”
“Individual” is a word commonly used to describe a single person. The definition of “individual” is: a separate/distinct person or thing. But that doesn’t make everyone special. The definition of “special” is: distinguishable from the usual or being exceptional or superior. Being “special” and being an “individual” are two different things.
English teachers handing out “The Future Betty Crocker Award” or “The Next Captain Kirk Award” to their first-graders will start giving every single child a false hope for their future. Not everyone is going to be the best or special, and kids need to learn this at a young age so they can strive to be special or be the best.
In reality, a very small percentage of kids are going to succeed at being the best. Do we want to break the cold truth of reality to kids at a young age, or should they grow up with the allusion of “everyone is special” and have them step on the ice down the road?
All kids should get recognized when they do something exceptional relative to them. Awards are for those who do something spectacular or out of the norm. In doing this kids will have the ambition to strive for excellence because they learn winning and succeeding will not just be handed to them on a silver platter.
“Everyone is special, Dash.”
“Which is another way of saying no one is.”
The son of Mr. Incredible sees through all the fog and mirrors, and this is exactly what kids in our society are not seeing through. It’s just one big circle, once everyone is special, suddenly no one is.
Eliminating the “celebration of mediocrity” the three hour long award ceremonies that I know everyone so enjoys attending will be significantly shorter, and it will give kids a taste of the real world before they are booted out into it. Wake up, sunshine, reality awaits.
Recreation Department has ‘wonderful programs’
On the evening of Jan. 4, 2011, I walked through the doors of the Granby Elementary School gym. That was the first day of the Recreation Department’s annual 5th and 6th grade boy’s basketball season.
This would be my second year as a coach for one of the teams, along with Mikey Landa. Our team was the Granby Xplosionzzzzz. Tom Pierro and Troy Neiberger would be coaching the other Granby team, the Granby Hot Hoops.
For the first two weeks of the season, we practiced fundamentals and scrimmaged each other. There were only four official practices before our first game, which was on Saturday, Jan. 22. After that, we had four more games, Jan. 29, Feb. 5, 12, and 26, hosted at either Middle Park High School in Granby or West Grand Middle School in Kremmling.
The teams we played were from all over the county – two teams from Fraser Valley, and two teams from Kremmling. At the end of the season, the Granby Xplosionzzzzz were 0-5, but many of the games were close matches at that.
On Tuesday March 1, the Granby Recreation Department held its annual end-of-the-season pizza party. Each of the kids from both of the Granby 5th and 6th grade teams received a trophy to remember a wonderful season. The trophies were generously donated by Troy Neiberger and Tom Pierro.
In the end, it didn’t matter that we didn’t have a winning streak of a season. All that mattered was the improvement seen in each and every one of the 23 boys, and their ability to grow throughout the two months.
The Recreation Departments of Grand County have a wonderful program on their hands, and I am so incredibly grateful to say that I was a part of it.