I spoke my piece about participation trophies here, but here’s the TLDR version:
• I don’t think they’re as bad as people say. Even at age 6, when I got my first one, I understood they were merely slightly glorified versions of “Ian was here” graffiti.
• “Well, I wanted to strive for excellence and do my best always, but participation trophies are good enough for me,” said no one ever.
• One could argue that an “achievement = shiny thing to shove in people’s faces” attitude is way worse. Some anti-participatrophs (make that catch on, peeps) say that the participatory baubles set up kids for a lifetime of letdown in the real world. As opposed to … hyperachievers who expect trophies for everything? I think the latter has a lot farther to fall in life.
• “Well, I wanted to strive for excellence and do my best always, but my parents demanded it, and the pressure burned me out,” said a few people.
Harrison should expend all that energy he’s using on his take-it-back production to teach his kids sufficient critical-thinking skills so that they understand the nature of achievement independent of the lateral virtues of showing up and working hard on a daily basis.
Short of that, he just could tell his children, “These trophies don’t mean you won. At best, they’re tokens of teamwork, not championships.”
I think they’ll get it. If he's doing it right.