Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mom, I haven't won the prize…

“Why didn’t my child get a prize, he was so good?”, “How come that child was given the first position, she was so ordinary?” Hmm do these reactions sound familiar?
We often hear people accusing the judges of a competition for the bias decision. It is easy to accuse the authorities and judges for the unfair judgment when you are one of the participants but come to the other side of the fence and you will say ‘I wish I was on the other side’. The same happened to me last week when I was invited to be one of the judges for a fancy dress competition at St. Joseph’s Central school. Participating is far easier than pronouncing the Best amongst the best. This is more so when all of them have put in their best foot forward. The dejected faces of children who are not the winners melt your heart and make you feel guilty.
There is always a debate without any conclusion on whether young children should be made to go through the emotional ordeal of facing competition. One school of thought states that not fetching the first place amounts to failure and leads to emotional imbalance for young children. Why should the tiny tots be made to go through these emotional traumas at a young age? Right! But isn’t competition the most important reality of life and the earlier they learn about it the better it is for them. Regarding that emotional imbalance, it can be handled pretty well by children if parents do not put undue pressure on their children to be the winner. It will be a part of the game for the child if she/he sees a big smile on mom’s face even when she/he doesn’t bring a trophy home. Isn’t participation as fun as winning a prize? School teachers too can pitch in by not giving partial treatment to those children who win the competition and encouraging other children to try their best.
It was a great show but the highlight of the event was not the brilliant show put up by primary school children but the discipline and time management practiced by the school. The show started at the pre announced hour irrespective of who is present and who is not. When one of the judges failed to turn up at the designated time, the principal Mrs. Joyce Lobo took the instant decision to request someone else to judge the event instead of waiting for the judge who was held up. In sharp contrast to this I am reminded of an event when a chief guest made the audience wait for two hours in the hot sun.
I wonder why we appreciate these values in childhood but tend to forget them as we grow up. Any answers?

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