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Competition- not everyone gets a trophy and that’s OK

Throughout this year, I have heard several times “every child is a winner, that’s why we are giving all the kids a trophy [or medal or ribbon].” But when a child hands back the award because they already have so many participation awards and do not really want another one, are the adults missing something? I believe we are. Competitions are important to the development of a child both personally and socially, and I praise
4-H for promoting educational competitions. Competitions are meant to challenge a participants knowledge and skill base, not to be easy for participants so that everyone gets 1st place. Participants need to learn and practice in order to succeed in a competition. That being said what defines success? Youth developing skills and knowledge for competitions are evolving their communication, self-esteem and self-efficacy. One’s sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges in competition and in life.

As adults and educators we are charged with developing and educating children to be successful in real world situations. That includes winning and losing. You cannot always be the best, but you can always do your best and learn from your experience. Let’s remember, competitions are more than just competing. While competitions involves winning and losing; they are an opportunity to educate our children, helping them develop valuable skills that will benefit them as they grow and are faced with success and failure in life. Then they will all be winners!  In competition, not everyone gets a trophy and that’s OK.