Monday, March 8, 2010

Winners and Losers

I was shocked last night while watching the Oscars. I hadn't seen any of the movies and didn't really care who received the Oscar. What shocked me that for the first time in a really long time, they used the words, "and the winner is". For quite some time now, if you have been paying attention, they have been saying "and the award goes to...". NEVER the winner. I guess in the climate of political correctness, it is too shocking to announce a "winner" since that implies that there is a loser. The truth that there is in fact usually one winner and lots of losers has been beside the point. No one should be made to feel bad. It's about the journey. We are all winners for trying. Blah blah blah.
So, I was really surprised to hear over and over on last night's show that they were announcing the WINNER. Good for whoever made that decision. Because let's face it. If I run a race, or take a test, I care who wins. Let's not pretend that we are all winners, since come on, some people are losers. And if we're really honest, all people are something. So tell the truth.
And since we're on this topic, who are we really helping in pretending that no one ever fails? Some of my friends who have kids have laughed at how teachers (like me) write report cards so that you need a degree in report card encoding in order to understand them. They are right, but it wasn't my decision to hide the truth. Because that's what we're really doing. Instead of coming out and saying your kid is disruptive and has no friends because he annoys everyone around him, I have to say something like "X has found the class expectations to be challenging and is working on becoming a group member". The latter statement may be easier to swallow, but wouldn't you rather know the truth?
Maybe not. Maybe people want to be lied to because the truth is too hard to deal with. Not me. I believe in healthy competition. I believe that in order to grow as a person you have to be self-aware enough to realize that you have failures in certain areas. That you need to try harder if you want to be first. That someone who comes in first deserves recognition. Yes, I also believe in the importance of the journey and trying to do your personal best. But at the same time, let's not kid ourselves and hide the truth.