In the past year I’ve run across three media reports and some pretty strong editorial opinions on stories involving kids:
• A number of school districts have decided to no longer fail kids, but rather call a non-passing grade “deferred success.”
• In parts of Britain, kindergarten teachers have been instructed to avoid the word “no” at all times.
• One major soccer association in Ontario (for kids under age 11) no longer keeps score for any games. Their logic is that the game is about skills, fair play, sportsmanship, and teamwork, and not making winners or losers.
But Swerve magazine asked: By overprotecting our children, are we putting them at even greater risk? There are no easy answers, but the author even questioned herself whether she was raising kids that were fat, passive, entitled, over-protected, helpless, lazy, wimps, and unable to function in the real world.
In the interest of full disclosure, sadly, I don’t have kids – and I sure don’t have any answers here, just questions. But your first Color will likely have some strong opinions:
Is it really possible to build empathy and help when everyone is equal? Is not keeping score, or failing a test, a way to motivate and improve, or point to a reason to work harder and do better? Can the results of these policies not potentially create a false sense of reality that’ll be shattered really quickly out in the real world? Is it more about sheltering kids from reality or helping them to grow?
When these kids become adults don’t achievements equal rewards and success, promotions, and a raise? Are these types of policies helping kids in a loving way and teaching them, or simply avoiding the harsh realities of life as an adult?
High Oranges thrive, learn, and grow through competition, games, and winning. They value anything where they have a chance to be the star, to perform, and to become the (recognized) best. They have no problem losing, because it makes them work harder and become more skilled with a single-minded focus to do better (win) next time.
For Gold kids and adults, it’s valuable when they can quantify things. Just participating without concrete measurements and yardsticks doesn’t allow for that and makes it very difficult to feel successful.
High Greens deal in facts and logic – as kids just as much as adults. They played poorly or didn’t study hard enough? That’s fine – now they have measurable and factual feedback to do better next time, and to learn from it.