Warning: This may be the most offensive and politically incorrect blog I have ever written. If you are easily offended stop reading now.
On Saturday I went to a fundraiser with my son. It was a good cause and my son was playing in a three-on–three basketball tournament. There was a lot of other stuff going on, kids games, a cornhole tournament, (don’t ask, it’s a mid-western thing) a bake sale, a basket raffle and entertainment. The entertainment was a local “dance team” that did some interpretive dance numbers as a team and as single dancers.
Here’s where it’s going to get rough so I am warning you for the final time, if you are squeamish stop reading and go get your Oprah Book Club selection.
After watching these poor kids flop around for three of four songs a question came into my mind. When do we start to tell kids that maybe they aren’t good at something? Here is a team of young girls and maybe one or two of them could keep time and knew the routine. Many were out of step, overweight and jammed into unflattering costumes. No wait, I didn’t want to say overweight, I wanted to say fat. Fat teenage girls packed like sausage into ugly costumes. Before you get yourself in an uproar about young girls and body image I don’t think everyone should or has to be slim. I am pretty hefty myself and have been all of my life. I was dressed in Sears Husky’s and have worn the nickname “Tubs” around my hometown from the time I was in fourth grade. I just think there are things that are much crueler than telling a kid to choose another leisure activity. Letting them make fools of themselves in front of their friends comes to mind. I think we need to teach our kids that when you are obese modeling and dance are probably out as career choices.
Let’s say your kid came to you and said, “Hey I have been watching Ultimate Fighting on TV and I want to try it.” How many times would your child have to hit the deck before you say, “Enough!” If you’re anything like me the answer is once or less. You would sit that child down and explain why it isn’t a good idea that he let other more talented kids smack him silly. If that didn’t take hold you would fall back on the old dad stand by, “Because I said so.”
Yet, little girls see Hannah Montana or some other Disney preteen crap and hundreds of moms encourage their little darlings to go sing and dance. Forget the fact they have no talent and don’t look good in spandex. I don’t know how this whole thing of everybody gets a trophy, never stop a kid from trying, never say you can’t got started but it has to stop. We have raised a generation that thinks just putting on a uniform makes you an athlete and that just pulling up a leotard makes you dancer. It doesn’t and at some point you aren’t encouraging your child you’re lying to them and enabling their delusion. Kids have to learn there is a difference between showing up and being a champion.
You have to find a balance between encouragement and toughness. If you want to be a winner you have to learn how to beat people and be tough. The truth of life is that in order for there to be winners there have to be losers. If you don’t like being a loser you have two options; work harder or quit. It pains me to think that Vince Lombardi couldn’t get a coaching job today. He would have to go to anger management and all kinds of sensitivity classes.
Yes, my friends I am a troglodyte and a dinosaur but my son will learn the difference between showing up and excellence. It is my hope for him that he becomes a man who knows how to kick butt in athletics and in life when he grows up. Do you know whose butt he will kick? Your wimpy kid’s!