I am not a fan of “everybody gets a trophy”. I am a fan of celebrating small victories , but not the overly effusive parenting style that was very popular when I was growing up.
Let’s start this off with a story.
Once upon a time, there was a slightly full-figured theatre kid in the fifth grade. Every weekend, her parents dutifully dropped her off at acting class, and a few times a year, endured a school performance or recital. She had a few siblings who played baseball and softball, each requiring multiple practices per week, and many, many boring ass games of which she was forced to attend.
She may have been the middle child, and may have resented the hell out of this. After all, this was cutting severely into her movie watching time, and forcing her out of doors when it was really hot outside.
In a rather misguided attempt at perceived equality or misplaced and ill-achieved vengeance, she decided to sign up for soccer. It was different, required multiple practices a week, and had many games. The only problem was that she hated soccer even more than she hated going to her siblings’ boring ass baseball and softball games. Comparing it to watching paint dry would be too kind.
Needless to say, she didn’t try very hard. She barely attempted the sport. Mostly, she just stood on the field watching the ball go by. She made an excellent portly lawn jockey or freakishly tall garden gnome.
Somehow, this still garnered her a trophy. A rather showy gold number, depicting a girl, in action, kicking a soccer ball. This is doubly odd because A: I don’t think the girl ever kicked the ball all season in a game, and B: it was clear to anyone with vision that she really didn’t give a damn about soccer, and just wanted to spread out the attention of her mom.
The trophy she should have received is the “Most Awesome At Being the Overlooked Middle Child” trophy. In fact, she should have 20something years’ worth of these trophies, and they should come complete with invisibility cloak, just like being the middle child. She is in no way still affected by her position as middle child. She definitely didn’t write more than one paper on the subject in college, and definitely doesn’t bring it up to her parents at each available opportunity. She definitely doesn’t warn them that both Bill Gates AND Madonna are both middle children, and if they don’t start paying proper attention to her, that she may turn out less awesome and altruistic and more naked and blasphemous. Or maybe, just maybe, she’ll be altruistically naked. It would be a FREE show after all.
She may have learned little from her soccer experience. She may have absolutely not deserved a shiny trophy to put on her canary yellow and gold dresser.
Acting, on the other hand, she shone in that arena, but it was a lot of hard work, and your payoff? Flowers. Do you know what happens to flowers? They DIE. You work your ass off for weeks, pour your blood, sweat, and tears into a project, and the reward friggen dies.
It took her a few years to realize that the flowers weren’t the reward at all, the show itself was. Having a great show that people wanted to see, and the work in itself was the reward. It was hard work, but she loved it. Every damn minute. No one constantly praised her, or awarded her with shiny baubles, and it was still worth it. It was better because of how sweet it was knowing she secured the role, and played the hell out of it.
If you’re not good, if you’re not trying, you don’t get cast.
Just like in life, if you don’t try, and you don’t work your ass off, the rewards are slim. No CEO is going to give you a trophy because you “tried”. You’ll get the promotion if you book the client, you get the accolades if you perform. There is no “participation trophy” in real life. There are risks, there are rewards, there are disappointments, there are successes. You make them for yourself, no one else does.
This is why I was bummed out when I found out that a neighborhood near mine recently got themselves all in a tizzy over the trophy issue. As it turns out, the street mime team didn’t have enough money for trophies. (I live in NYC, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of one…they think outside the box here….see what I did there?) The parents were incensed. Their 10 year olds NEEDED trophies for pretending to make a flower for annoyed passersby. These are the same parents who lobbied the NYC dept of Education to allow 2 C’s on a report card to still warrant the Merit Roll. I absolutely shudder at what these kids are going to grow up to be like. I have the sinking feeling that they’re going to make my generation “the millennials”, look like the hardest working generation ever, when even the merit roll is just handed to them.
What is success worth if you never have to work for it? Would I think my weight loss were special if I just woke up one day to fitness? Hell no, it’d be like winning the lottery, not winning a war. Hollow and empty.
I am finding it hard to balance my need to shower praises on my kids with teaching them how much greater something is if you have to work to achieve it. So far, the best analogy I have given my kids is that bread from the grocery store is healthy and delicious, but it in no way compares to having a fresh from the oven, warm, homemade, whole wheat roll.
Do you have any tips to share on this front? I feel like I am at the precipice of turning into an overly effusive hippie.
Though hippies rarely eat ground beef. Worst segue ever? Hell no, I’ve done way worse.
Yesterday, I made Picadillo. There are several variations of this recipe, and I’ve made it several ways. It can be spicy, and more tomato-y, or more like a sweet and sour with spice dish. I prefer the latter.
by Cat Tan
Keywords: saute appetizer entree
heat the onions, garlic, beef, and carrots in a skillet on medium high until the beef is brown and veg are softer
add in all other ingredients, and simmer for 25 minutes