Should Every Child Get an Award? April 03, 2018 07:00

Should everyone get an award? This is a controversial topic. Some parents think it’s unfair for some children to get awards, while others don’t. If you ask my mother, she would disagree.

My mother has lived through a depression, a loss of a mother at age 11, and a multiple of life challenges, and she believes these challenges have made her who she is today. “Life does not give you awards. They are earned,” was her reasoning for not letting anyone beat her at board game. “i could let you win to try to make you feel good, but just imagine if I don’t let you win and you legitimately beat me. How will you feel then? I will never let you win at a game! But, if you watch and learn how I play the game, you eventually will beat me."

She was right, but I had no idea how long it would take me to actually achieve that level of skill. I have been playing Scrabble with her since I was ten. My mother is now 93.5 years old and she is still cognitively alert. After many years of perfecting her skills at different games, she continues to be a worthy opponent. I played her regularly growing up and my game gradually improved. With each game, my score would grow, and I began feeling a sense of accomplishment. The gap was slowing closely as the years went by, but at the age of 60, I had yet to beat her.

Many people who have played her in the past were frustrated with her philosophy and felt it was ego driven. But I will tell you, my mother is a tenacity builder. She wanted her children, grand children, and now her great grandchildren to learn how she survived a life filled with many challenges. She never gave up.

In my 62nd year of life and my 52nd year of playing with my mom, I succeeded in beating her by 6 points. I can not explain how elated I was. I posted my victory on Facebook because this was a once in a lifetime event! My mom's response to my post was, "I could be angry that you won and posted it here, but you got good by playing me. You can thank me instead of bragging about it."

Boy was she right. If she hadn't given me challenges every game, I would never have learned how to play. Thank you, Mom.

Even though she can still give me a good game, the margins are increasing between her score and mine in my favor. The wins are not nearly as exciting now, because her memory is slipping. I am so grateful that I beat her when she was at the top of her game.

 When she heard that students were getting trophies just for playing, she asked me, "What is the motivation for trying harder? If I had let you beat me before you had the skills to do so, you would never have beaten me.”