We grew up in a society with a parenting style issue. We grew up where everyone was told that they were special no matter what. We were given gold medals for coming in last place. And no matter what happened, it was always a 'good job' ending. Why though? It's not coming from a sense of empathy, because empathy would be having the courage to tell your children that they have failed in order to not be ashamed and humiliated by the false ideas you've implanted in their head.
I grew up playing roller hockey with all of the kids at the local YMCA. I was literally one of the best, yet I was put on one of the worst teams. Instead of being able to play with the other great players, I had to play against them so we didn't lose so badly; although that is partial to the issue.
We went on to lose every single game that season. And when actually making a comeback because I had scored a hat-trick, my father (the coach), pulled me out of the game so our worst player could get minutes on the rink because he'd not played yet. And although we may have actually won the game if I'd stayed in, it's safe to say that telling him he was the option for our comeback did him no good either. In fact, lying to him did many things like enabling him and lowering his self-esteem when he went out and failed. But, the sense of entitlement to 'get the minutes anyways' was astronomical, while my father pulled the goalie, put me in. The kid stood where he wasn't offsides, I slapped it all the way down the rink and yelled, "Stick your stick out!" He did, and scored by doing nothing and working none harder.
Fortunately there was a team that was needing an extra man and in the battle for first place. This team was in second place and if they won, they took out the top dog and became winners. I was given the opportunity to play goalie against some of the sharpest shooters in the league not because they were bigger or stronger, but because they practiced. And as I was told they had some wicked deke moves, the new coach said that the defenseman wouldn't let me down because he too had practiced very hard at 'trailing the wingman.' Which I hear is the key to covering the goalies blind spot. And soon enough, my practice and theirs comes to a screeching victory of first place by winning 3-1. And it wasn't because we had anything special, but it was because we behaved like a team that practiced together, and was engendered to each other's societal needs. I needed a good defenseman who was up to date on how to defend. I got one. I knew how to save the puck. We won.
With this being said, my original team went on to be dead last. And although I was the same exact player I was on the last place team, and I was the same exact player that I was on the first place team, there seemed to be no difference in me, my practice efforts, but the same person in two completely different environments had two completely different lifestyles. Win or lose. Better or worse. And that's what kids are lacking today, is that, they are not all winners. But why is that not a harsh answer? Because it's always okay to work harder and eventually be better than that first place person.
We got trophies that said #1 on it, and we were last place. But do you know what the difference between us and the first place person was at the end of the season? It was that when the first place person received the exact same trophy they felt that they need not work harder, they were going to be given success, and that it was a lesser of an achievement because this is an everyone's first place kind of society. They weren't winners, but they were victims of a failed parenting tactic that gave them something they didn't have to earn. And you ask about the last place person, us? We were embarrassed to get the trophies. We know that we didn't deserve them, we weren't told to work harder, and we frankly felt lied to. Although if I failed, that's okay... in corporate America, now graduated, failing still means meeting the requirements of a 401K and salary. And as these children are now adults, it's not the parents who are suffering with someone who wants to sit back in a bean bag while working and be given anything for free. It's corporate America who is set up to fulfill the babysitting role, while succumbing to the, "Anything you want," scenario when hiring in someone who no matter the quality of work, will always expect and want more each and every pay period.
So, maybe the Lavar Ball's of this world aren't so bad because he always told his son that if he didn't work harder he wouldn't of become a second round draft pick to the team of his choice in the most recent NBA draft; now signing for 30+ million contract to the most highly recognizable team. Maybe if we do show someone--our children--their weaknesses, they will learn to work on them, instead of come into a job that they are under-qualified for (Which most are straight out of college anyways) and cry when given a task to do better, with a bit of constructive criticism. Instead of saying, "How can I work harder for you, sir." And resulting in a non-destructive society that constantly needs attention for accomplishments they haven't gotten, nor realizing that you can work hard, but working harder is better and will always take the upper hand in a society structured around competition. So, if we hear another Lavar Ball parenting tip, making his son work on his ball handling skills until midnight--homework--versus going out to dinner with the rookies... you may wonder why Big Baller Brand is worth what he says it is, and why we may see an early front runner for rookie of the year. Because working harder, means that much more. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, in this world is given for free.
So how do we change an entire generation that's been built on the "you've done great, no matter what" system, instead of someone who's been given a harder but more constructive time to say... what comes next? How can I work harder? How can I benefit you?
I mean isn't that what it's all about? Benefiting someone else with what we are given, in a world where nothing is given until the Millennial generation appeared, and was force fed something that they could not reciprocate when grown up, said, and tried by someone they didn't know, who doesn't care of their situation, and is going to great them as they are. A stranger unaccustomed to anything but a failed parenting tactic that has shaped an entire lifestyle of the generation to come next shape, structure, and addictive traits of this world. And yeah, they don't know they are doing it or have done it. So how do we beat something we've been ignorant years?
This is the problem to entitlement and the Millennial issue in short, which may shine a light on why addiction and dopamine gaining activities are on the rise. But if I didn't explain it clearly enough please watch this YouTube video by Simon Sinek (that I gain no profit off of and do not own), explaining addiction, self esteem and entitlement, blatantly and clearly enough for you to maybe experience a life changing event. That "Aha" moment that will forever be engrained in you to not work hard and play hard. But work hard to work harder, because there will be no 8th place trophies is my, or my family's life!