I started raising kids nearly 14 years ago. When I became a parent there was already a movement in full swing where children were to have their self-esteem bolstered and protected. I was and am in full agreement with that train of thought. However, the methods that some parents and other adults have taken to achieve this goal has always made me very skeptical.
People who are about 28 years old and younger, were brought up in this movement of “everyone’s a winner.” I believe that! We are all winners. However, some of us are winners waiting to be born. Winners who have yet to show that we can win or that we want to win. Some of us think we are losers and act that out.
I don’t give out ribbons when my kids have not earned them. I don’t give out ribbons to people who don’t deserve them either. I give ribbons to those who show grace, appreciation, hard-work, intelligence, growth, and determination.
I am so tired of this new generation of “ribbon receivers” who feel like just because they shit we should all honor it and applaud it. Nope not happening over here. Guess what, we all have to use the potty. I’ll applaud your first time, but there after you’ll have to feel pride in your own accomplishments. I give my children many opportunities to accomplish. I present them with opportunities to challenge themselves, I praise them when they work and try hard, and I tell them the truth when they didn’t give their all or have come up short. That is how they grow.
As a matter of fact I just had a meltdown situation with my nearly 14 year-old about her Operatic singing. She can sing the heck out of Pop, soul, and jazz, however she is only into her second year of Opera singing. Really her first year of formal training. Last year I put her in a choir to prepare her for her training at the school she is at now. She is toying with the idea of being an Opera Singer, so I do my duty and expose her. This year, she has a professional voice instructor who sent her out on a recital a little too early. She sounded like a rattling whistle. It was hard to get through. On the ride home I was trying to find a way to break it to her, but she broke the ice with “I thought I did a good job, but my classmates just stared at me crazy when I was finished.” I had to let her know that it was not great at all. She was broken and embarrassed. Her voice is beautiful! However, learning this new genre is challenging. I’ve been giving her tips that she hasn’t been listening to because she doesn’t know that I have sang the type of music in my past life. We had a tiff about how she sounds, and about her need to insert her creativity into the process. She threatened to give up singing, ha, ha, ha, whatever. She’s been singing since she was three weeks old. She can’t give it up it’s in her soul, so that was an empty threat. I made her watch recital after recital on youtube, plus, I did my usual mommy harping, and she emerged two days later sounding about 70% better. She sounded like my baby again. I get chills when she sings, and I felt them again. She had definitely improved.
The point is, even when I was teaching her to read and teaching her addition back when she was 4, I made her challenge herself and I was honest with her when her best wasn’t showing through. Every time, I am honest with her, she emerges a shining star, and then she deserves a ribbon. Not before she tries, and not because she cries. I am that type of person with my kids and with other people too. I believe in the power of human potential. If you have stepped in shit, I will be telling you that you stink and to clean your shoes. You’ll be the better for it. You will rise to the occasion, if more people tell you the truth.
So if you’ve made bad choices in your life and continue to march down that path, don’t try to attack those who love you and want to correct you. Don’t try to throw up a smoke screen and say we are labeling you and persecuting you. Get your shit together. You are gifted, talented and you are a winner. No matter how many bad showings you have made to date, you can always change your course and be your best self. Stop bullshitting yourself and others, and grab your happiness! I’ll give you a ribbon when I see some movement on your part, otherwise I’ll be right here telling you the truth even if you cry, whine, cuss, and fuss. So go ahead, unfriend me, write a nasty blog post about me, send me a nasty message, or leave a bad comment. You are still not getting that ribbon until I see you earning it!