James Harrison, a linebacker for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, came home one night to find that his sons, 6 and 8 years old, had won two student-athlete “participation trophies.” He decided, however, that he would return the trophies to teach his sons a most important lesson: You are entitled to nothing, even if you tried your best.
“I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best,” he wrote on Instagram.
Harrison took a picture of his kids’ trophies and explained why he has to teach his sons a lesson that many in recent generations have been denied.
“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 and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues”
Everyone needs to experience the pain of failure at some point if they are to appreciate and be proud of their accomplishments later in life — even little children. Everyone may try their best, but not everyone can be a winner. Real strength and wisdom is gained after learning from your mistakes and mustering the determination to keep going.