Thursday, March 18, 2010

The World Needs More Trophies

I've read many posts and articles debating the practice of giving every kid a trophy, even when they lose. I've always seen the valid points of both sides but leaned more towards the tough love side. If you win, you win, if you lose, you lose. Suck it up and deal with it, right? Well, in this case I think I've changed my mind.

See this smile? This is just minutes before the start of Pablo's Pinewood Derby race. See the excitement, the hope, the confidence?

And we were all excited for him. And we all had our fingers crossed, hoping he would have better luck than last year. Alas, he once again came in dead last for every race. Poor guy. But he held it together (even though I could see him clenching his fists and mentally willing himself to not cry or run away). Last year when this happened his consolation prize was a paper certificate and a mini candy bar. It wasn't very consoling, but it was better than nothing, right?

Well, this year they gave each kid on of these amazing little trophies on stone bases, and they are even going to get an engraved name plate to put on it.

Pablo, who moments before had a face filled with pain, ran up to me with a big smile and showed me his trophy. I commented on how great it looked and he said,

"Yeah, the winners got bigger trophies. This trophy might be tiny, but I think it's a good, strong trophy." And then he gave me a big long hug and said, "Now I need to build a trophy case!"

And I think he totally deserved that little-but-strong trophy because I don't know if I could have come in dead last 6 races in a row without running away to cry in a closet somewhere. Pablo, you are one tough kid. I'm so proud of you.

And of course we went out for ice cream to celebrate the big evening. =)

Now, do any of you have some good tips on how to improve a pinewood derby car (that doesn't involve a premade kit or the parents doing all the work)?


Rochelle said...

We had the same prob for the 2nd year in a row. Dead last. We did forget to put graphite on the wheels. Honestly, I don't think it can be done without the parents helping a lot!

Packer Family said...

I think if it is a church event and the activity chooses to give out trophys then every child should get one:) You want to build them up not make them feel bad about themselves:)

Jeanette said...

So sweet!
Sorry, no pine wood derby tips. Have never been involved in one myself.

Aunt LoLo said...

As light as possible, with extra weights in the front to pull it along.

Good luck!!!!! I'm proud of your little dude.

cindy kay said...

Yeah, I discovered the same thing: theoretical ideas don't always hold up when you're faced with a real child and real tears of real disappointment--especially when it's you're own child. I'm so glad your son wasn't left completely heartbroken.

[Oh, by the way, the word you want is "lose" (as in, don't lose your lunch money), rather than "loose" (as in, my belt is too loose).]

Mychelle said...

Although I agree with the tough love, I am glad to see Pablo happy. When I was little, we had a spaceship race, and I didn't place. What added more to my pain, I got the "most colorful rocket" award. I was so mad that I not only got last, but was given a pity prize to begin with. I went sobbed. I didn't like it then, but it taught me a good lesson. I am glad it worked for those kids.


My Ice Cream Diary said...

That is how David felt last year with his "Red Car" certificate (because his car was red) and mini candy bar. I think the difference this time was that he and I both felt he deserved it for doing so well with his attitude. David has, since he was very little, had big problems with difficult situations and it has been a long journey getting him to a point where he could lose multiple times in a public setting and keep his cool. So, it felt like the trophy was more for that than for the race.

Richelle said...

With 4 brothers, my dad had a bunch of tricks for the pinewood derby. After my oldest brother got 3rd place, the other 3 always got 1st. Unfortunately, I haven't had the tricks passed on to me yet. I will have to get all them in about 4 years. :)

Amber said...

I think it's great that they did that, especially for the pinewood derby where they put a lot of work into it.

I have absolutely NO ADVICE for building those cars. My husband and his father do, I'm sure. They came in first every year.

And yes, they're a wee bit obsessed.

Ben Eaton said...

aerodynamics and graphite.

The Lazy Organizer said...

I don't know if this is a solution but why can't they just race their cars and the parents stay out of it? They have more fun at the end when the official races are over anyway.

A friend of mine told us all about how her husband had spent $300 building a winning car for her son and I about killed her for saying it in front of my son that always builds his own car. It turned out that my son also won first place that year. ALL BY HIMSELF!

I say let them build the car and let them lose. They can try harder next time or they can decide they don't care what anyone else thinks. I personally choose not to compete. I don't need anyone telling me if my photos or quilts are good. I already know they're good enough for me.

Michal said...

I teared up over this post. I'm so glad that your Pablo was pleased with his good, strong trophy. And what a good sport he is learning to be! (We can't build a winning car over here, either.)

Jen said...

Make sure you use graphite on the wheels, and make sure you sand down any bumps & plastic crusties still attached to the wheels.