Thursday, October 22, 2015

Everybody's Getting an Award

I got knocked out when I was in Grade 2.  A big older bully from another section punched me on the face. I did not know what happened and why he punched me. What I remember is that I fell backwards after he landed his fist on my face. I went there because I was asked by my teacher to give this document to their adviser and unfortunately she was not there and then that thing happened. I did not tell my teacher about it but my mom noticed the crack on my lips when I got home then I told her what happened. Then I cried. Then she went to my teacher the following day which then talked to the bully's class advisor about what he did. I can't remember what happened next.

It was also the last time I was given a first honor award at school. After that year, I still was able to get some academic awards. There were 23 sections so being part of the pilot section was already an achievement, what more when you get to the honor roll. There were few recognitions given at that time every end of school year. The honor roll and some "best in subjects" awards. There was prestige, but I never thought about it really at that time.

But compared to what we see now, almost everyone at school gets an award. You can even see on your social media feeds that all parents are posting their kids' awards. 

This ain't limited to school. Even on other things, everyone seemed to be getting an award. If there are no awards existing for someone, they will create him a new one. And award giving bodies are also sprouting like mushrooms. Before, schools are begging for recognition from the industry leaders. Now, it's the schools who are the one giving awards to industry leaders. Like in media for example. Professional and veteran newscasters are chosen and given commendations by students who haven't even completed their studies yet about the field of these personalities whom they are giving recognition.

Then there are competitions where mere participation were given awards and prizes. No one's going home empty handed nowadays.

Everyone's a winner, so it seems. No one's losing. No one's failing. But the problem with this set up is on how we truly appreciate winning without knowing what it's like to lose.  It's like talking about darkness when light is the only thing you experience since birth. Another danger that we are playing with this thing is by making the young ones feel that awards and recognitions are rights rather than privileges for the few who worked harder and better than the rest of them. I think some of us can say we are already reaping its fruits in the workplace.

And the irony that award giving bodies and the award itself gain more prestige and mileage than the awardees is a big irony . Like what happens when mere students are the ones making criteria for recognitions to be given to people whom in the present they are only just dreaming to work for.

For sure, there will be comments or reactions like "these awards aren't important though later on in your life" and "you can't use this awards when you're working, etc". I agree with you. But that's not the point of this write up. Let's all admit that awards have impact on people's confidence and behavior later in life. They are meant to foster a competitive environment that will motivate people bring out their best. It also gives satisfaction to those who made it. But due to the "mass production" of it, it seems to lose its meaning and purpose, and actually defeating it.  People are becoming soft and whiners because of it. A lot feels they are entitled to get one without doing much effort because everyone seems to be getting some anyway.  Everybody's getting an award. Awards are dead.

If I could give an award to that guy who punched me before, I'll give him the heaviest fist award. He was the only person who was able to knock me out from all the fist fights I went through when I was young. I can still feel the impact up to this day.  I hope to meet him again soon. I hope he's not yet dead.

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