Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Participation trophies controversy; why do some good kids go bad?; a little incident in Rockville MD over "BLM"


There’s a debate on CNN about “participation trophies” and whether parents “over valuing” kids raises “narcissistic kids”. The coverage starts with a series of links in an article and video by Kelly Wallace, here
  
Right off the bat, that reminds me of a report card, back around 1951 in third grade, where teachers pretended to give grades “according to ability”.

There’s a problem, in that society rewards winning.  (Listen to Donald Trump.)  You can’t logically reward both winning and then every prize everyone at the same time (and the alternative is “communism”).  There’s an inherent contradiction.  So, in capitalism, we tend to migrate to a “winner takes all” mentality.

That’s most apparent publicly in pro sports.  Sometimes that goes to players’ heads.  Nats outfielder Jayson Werth hasn’t really been right (nor has the team been right) since his brief jail stint for very reckless driving – after all, if you have a hundred million dollars, you can get away with anything?  (I remember his case and slow down when I notice my speed creep up on the open road.)

But’s true also in other endeavors.  Look at the spectacular tour for just-graduated high school senior and now Stanford freshman Jack Andraka, traveling worldwide to promote his book after his science fair win on a pancreatic test, several years before it can be fully tested and approved and used in real practice.  His older brother, just about as accomplished in science, gets overlooked by the media, although may that’s just being left alone to finish undergraduate college first (the first phase of adult life).

There’s another horrible problem that comes to mind – previously successful kids gone very wrong in their twenties, as a sensational trial and case in Colorado shows.  It’s something we don’t want to think can even happen, and we want to know why when it does.

I can return to the Black Lives Matter movement, and Hillary Clinton’s confrontation, and even recent editorials that say it is about to get police to stop intentionally targeting African-Americans.  I’ve said that the Ferguson incident is not the best one (Baltimore, Staten Island, and several others are much more clear cut) .  I’ll even venture to say that, whatever my baseball rooting interests, a St. Louis-Baltimore World Series could help both communities pull together through all this horror.
   
But one question that nobody will investigate is, why did Michael Brown commit the acts he did (in a convenience store, and there is really credible evidence that he intruded into Wilson’s car). He was said to be a good kid headed for college, maybe real success in adult life, maybe leadership in own community.  I believe that, but then why suddenly this behavior?  Someone needs to report on this.


Yesterday (Monday) I took a brief field trip to Rockville MD and saw the “boxed up” confederate statute at the Red Brick Courthouse., news story about the BLM graffiti here. 


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