Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I came across an article on a study titled "Egos Inflating Over Time," which makes the case that this generation of young adults is much more narcissistic than those in the past. An end result is self-esteem on steroids, with overblown egos leading to many problems.

An example of a potential cause of this sad condition is the trend to avoid keeping score in games involving the young (e.g. Little League, youth soccer and lacrosse, etc.). By admonishing the fact that in sports there's always a winner and loser, instead choosing to convey the warm and fuzzy "we're all winners" or "there's no such thing as losing" sets up many youngsters for future problems.

As much as winning or just having fun are terrific goals, equally important is encouraging kids to learn how to deal with losing or coming up short of victory. They need to be exposed to all emotions, and that includes disappointment and failure -- even at this early age -- so they can process the feelings, grow from them, and become not just better competitors but more so better human beings.

As it is, most kids keep score of who is winning in their own heads. Parents are only fooling themselves if they believe otherwise. In that case, best to have the kids understand that they won't win every time in life, and as a result other qualities -- such as resilience, perserverance, practice, humility, acceptance -- should be recognized and embraced. Looking back as mature adults, our youth will ultimately thank us for taking the less vacuous route.

No comments: