Rewarding Mediocrity

Related to my previous post, I’m wondering when we started to award mediocrity? Aside from the usual honors and honorable mentions, my sister’s school has a plethora of “Most” awards: Most Neat, Most Obedient, Most Active, Most Improved Reader, Most Respectful, etc.

Most of the time, it’s the children who didn’t get honors who would get these Most awards. It’s arranged so that all the kids would have the opportunity to be onstage and receive an award. My 6-year-old sis, Sofia, was second honor this year. She clearly didn’t focus too much this year because last year, she wasn’t just the first honor, she also received the school’s only scholarship award for having the highest average in the whole school. (Don’t get me wrong. I’m immensely proud of her regardless of her standing.)

My mom also told me that the kid who received “Most Neat” didn’t even look neat.

What is it with rewarding everyone when there is no reason to reward them? Are we afraid that children will crumble and develop low self-esteem if we do not hand out awards like popcorn? Why should the kids strive to be on the honor roll if they know that they will get an award anyway (Best in Attendance? *haha*) even if they don’t do much? As for the kids who do work hard to get honors, isn’t it a disservice to them that they get equal recognition with the kids who prefer to play with their PSPs all day instead of completing their workbooks?


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