Pittsburgh Steeler outside linebacker James Harrison knows what it means to overcome challenges and win. With two Super Bowl championships under his belt, the youngest of fourteen says he had to earn everything he has gotten in life. Being taught that real competition rewards the strongest and most prepared is a lesson Harrison hoped to instill in his sons, ages five and seven, when they brought home participation trophies and Harrison immediately insisted they return them. Harrison took to social media to explain his disgust at his sons’ receiving awards for simply showing up.
Harrison received a barrage of negative backlash over his social media post in which he explained why he was disgusted that someone would reward his sons for “nothing”:
“I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned….”
No sooner had his post went up than parents started lambasting Harrison for his parental style. Some suggested he must hate his children and many suggested feeling sorry for the boys because of their father’s harshness. Harrison’s post caused such a stir on social media that it captured the attention of the producers of “The Steve Harvey Show” and they invited Harrison on the show on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2016 to explain his position.
While many of Harrison’s naysayers had solid points on how children’s self-esteem can be damaged early on if they aren’t able to achieve in athletics, Harvey echoed Harrison’s belief that children, especially young men, need to understand that nothing in life will be given to them. Harrison explained that his children have a very different lifestyle than he had growing up because of his occupation and he doesn’t want them to believe they can get something for doing nothing. Harvey admitted this balance can be difficult for parents that have a certain level of success trying to make sure their children understand the value of hard work. “Privileged children can grow up to be privileged buttholes,” Harvey said adamantly.
See Harrison’s entire IG post below.
What do you think? Do you think children should receive participation trophies or should awards be reserved for first, second and third place? Sound off in the comments section.