The Continued Wussification of American Children

About the Author: Eric Cressey

On the radio this morning, they were talking all about this 9-year-old in Connecticut who was banned from his little league for being too good. Yes, folks, you read that correctly; we’re discouraging achievement and instead rewarding and encouraging mediocrity.

To illustrate my point…

When I was in elementary school, I played the trumpet. I use the word “play” very loosely because I was absolutely terrible – the last trumpet in the band, in fact. I was so bad that I used to fake playing a good 75% of the time. When concert time came around, I’d pretend to huff and puff and blow into that sucker – and while I looked like I was making sweet music, the truth was that my cheeks were just getting redder and redder – and I wasn’t making a sound. This great “front” was even better because I was pudgy, and let’s be honest: there really isn’t anything funnier than a pudgy kid with red cheeks pretending to play the trumpet.

You know what, though? Nobody ever told the first trumpet guy to skip the concert. He deserved his success. For all I know, he might still be playing the trumpet today. Hell, I didn’t even practice; I was too busy focusing on what I enjoyed more (which coincided with what I was good at: sports).

What if this 9-year-old really does have what it takes to do something special in the world of baseball? Are we really going to risk his development – both physically and psychologically – so that we can make future lawyers, astronauts, and proctologists feel good about themselves? If that’s the case, we better start telling the smart kids in school to stop studying.

The truth is that just as success is great for teaching us what we enjoy and what our place in this world is, humility teaches us countless valuable lessons. Take it from the fat trumpet faker who wore sweatpants to school straight up through sixth grade. I turned out okay.