I am planning to start a backlash – against backlashes. Whenever there is progress in society, there is a tendency at some point for people to push against it.
The latest backlash I’ve noticed is against participation trophies in youth sports. Critics argue that if we reward kids just for being in a sport, they won’t try hard to win. Have they met kids? Kids can make a competition out of anything – who runs fastest, eats the most marshmallows, hangs on the monkey bars the longest. A participation trophy rewards a child for being involved, win or lose. It’s an A for effort, if you will.Heaven forbid we should try to boost children’s self-esteem!
Even safety advances get scoffed at. With reference to car seat belts and bike helmets, I’ve heard variations on the following: “I never wore one, and I did just fine.” To which I’d counter, “You were lucky. Now buckle up and shut up.” Yes, many of our mothers smoked and drank when they were pregnant. So let’s just ignore decades of medical research and assume that if we indulge, our progeny will be fine too.
I don’t understand what is wrong with making our world a little safer and more compassionate. I particularly dislike the term “political correctness.” It implies that there is something wrong with showing sensitivity to people’s racial, ethnic, religious or developmental differences. I have a better word for “political correctness.” I call it “kindness.”
Let’s face it. The good old days really weren’t. As a society, we are safer and healthier, with greater longevity, than ever before in history. Why don’t we celebrate that instead of tearing it down?