This year both our girls took dance classes after school each week. Each term they learned a new dance routine and at the end of the term, performed on stage. Watching them over the year we have seen their confidence grow. The dance school focuses on the kids having fun and feeling positive about themselves, rather than focussing on perfection, hair and makeup. This is perfect for those at a young age who just want to dance and have fun.
Each term they receive a certificate for having completed the routine, but after four terms, or one whole year of dancing, they receive a trophy.
Now our girls have been excited about receiving this trophy since they found out they'd get one at the end of the year. In fact, it is partly responsible for helping them stick at the dancing classes for an entire year!
Is it right to give kids a trophy just for participation? Should trophies be reserved for achievement? Or is sticking at something for a year considered an achievement now?
Our daughters are thrilled with their trophies, and as a parent it's wonderful to see them so proud of what they have done. But in some way I do feel it devalues the medals and trophies won for being the best at something.
Our eldest daughter won a gold medal for winning overal in her age group in the swimming carnival. To me that is more of an achievement than one year's participation in a dance class. But will she see her medal as more than her big trophy?
Maybe kids assign their own value to the things they win. For me, personally, when I was younger I was a gymnast for several years. I won several medals in competitions - a few gold team medals, but my most prized medals were two bronze individual medals I won. I was thrilled to win all my medals and certificates, but I was aware of the significance of each one - and the effort I had put in for each.
I hope our girls can learn to put their medals, certificates and trophies into perspective as their collections grow in the coming years!
How do you feel about recognition for participation vs achievement? What have your kids 'won'?