Celebrate! Participation Medals


I’m participating in Ruth Ayres Celebrate This Week. Check out the link up here!

Today I’m celebrating “Participation Medals.”

Sometimes I laugh at awards for all. Often I roll my eyes at certificates for participating in competitions. I nod when colleagues talk about how we are creating a generation of entitlement. I have read Mindset, and I understand that if we reward what kids think of as their innate abilities, they will give up on difficult situations. I know that kids know participation awards from the real deal.

I also know that my kids don’t get a lot of rewards like this. Their teachers don’t do it, my daughter’s piano teacher doesn’t do it. We are pretty chill here as far as sports… take after-school soccer just for fun, take karate twice a week to be physically active while practicing focus, hard work, self control, etc.  Like it or not, there’s not a lot of competition in this family.

Today my son went to his first karate tournament. My daughter didn’t want to compete, so it was just me and H. A Karate themed mother and son day. We had no idea what to expect, but we were excited.

photo 1Today, I’m celebrating H’s participation. A participation medal… I found myself being thankful for this medal. He didn’t place 1st or 2nd or 3rd in his forms, but he got a medal. I decided right then that he deserved this medal. Maybe it’s silly, to get a medal for “just showing up,” but I don’t think so. Not when you think about what “just showing up” means. What does Participating mean?

Participating. . . I can’t imagine being such a little guy, walking into a high school gymnasium with so many strangers.

photo 2

Participating… Today, I’m celebrating H’s wise words as we spoke about not expecting a trophy on your first (white belt) tournament. Next time, maybe. He said “Mommy, it’s like jumping off of a tall thing… like doing a dare devil trick. Once I do it once, I can do it another time with more knowing what’s happening.”

photo 3

Participating…. I’m celebrating this little boy of mine, who listened to directions from officials, was focused, and participated even though his big sister wasn’t there, even though he knew he had a long way to go before being the best.

I’m celebrating how he told me he was happy that at least he’d get a medal. “It’s nice that you know you are walking away with something at least.” he told me.

photo 4


I’d also like to celebrate…

Time with this kid
an entire afternoon including
unhealthy snacks and a 
candy taste test

Conversations with this kid
patiently waiting in bleachers
("It was so cool mommy, to actually seat in those seats to watch!") 

Pride - his own
and mine

And... well... I guess a little celebration for his 
First Place Trophy
for sparring... 
"I knew I'd win at sparring, mommy. I'm really good at sparring."

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