Does it seem to you like in today’s society, everyone wins?  Do you feel like people get rewarded just for showing up now? Have you heard something like, “Hey the other team outscored you by fifteen runs but we want you to feel good about yourself, so you win too!”?

Yesterday I wrote about how I had a professor in graduate school who  would often ruminate on this idea. Today, I want to talk about what if he was wrong.  What I actually want to talk about is what if he was wrong about the idea that everyone should not win?  Should everyone win?

If everyone should win, aren’t there some other things that should be true too?

  1. First, if he was wrong, there are hours of my life I’ve lost to this discussion. I’ll never get those hours back.
  2. Secondly, if he was wrong  you probably do not want to be his kid. Think about how bad that would be! Think about all the trophies and medals you would lose out on.
  3. If everyone wins, then shouldn’t everyone get paid the same? Shouldn’t the guy who’s put no time in going to school get paid the same as the guy who has done all the training and who has worked hard to learn more? Shouldn’t the woman who is only slightly skilled at her job get paid the same as the woman who is extremely skilled? To be fair, shouldn’t everyone get paid the same just for showing up? Shouldn’t management and labor get the same exact pay? Where do we limit our quest for fairness? Shouldn’t all students be simply given a pass/fail? Forget grades.

Obviously, I think he’s right. I think our society is constantly moving towards an everyone should win mentality. I also think it is having negative effects on our children and society.


Tomorrow, I will discuss why I think he’s right. I’ll offer some anecdotal evidence and some clinical evidence.


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  1. Interesting topic : )
    I don’t think every child should win constantly, but I do think every child and every person should know they are exceptional. Even if they are a loser : )
    I am glad this popped up in my facebook feed today. I always love visiting your blog Joe Martino : )

  2. What I wonder is, do the kids see this as an “everyone wins” scenario? Granted, it’s been a while since I was in elementary school, but when I was we had “Track & Field Day” at the end of every school year. Everyone involved got a “participation” ribbon, and then those who placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd got ribbons for their events. Even though all of us got a ribbon of some kind, we all knew that it was better to get the ribbons for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. In fact, I think we all viewed the participation ribbon as a bit of a joke.
    If that’s how it still is, then kids probably see through the facade and still know whether they won or lost. But if adults have more cleverly disguised things since I was a kid and children are actually buying into the fact that the participation ribbon is just as good as the 1st place ribbon, then this “everyone wins” problem seems valid.
    Can those with kids shed light on how “everyone wins” is actually playing out today?

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