ALICE: Hatter, the White Rabbit said Participation Trophies are bad. What is wrong with making kids feel good?
MAD HATTER: Kids need to learn how to succeed. To be happy they need to find their natural skills.
ALICE: Won’t the trophy encourage them?
MAD HATTER: Well no, instead it satisfies them, letting them be happy in the absence of success.
ALICE: But kids need self-esteem, right?
MAD HATTER: Alice, self-esteem created without achievement promotes narcissism.
ALICE: What is narcissism?
MAD HATTER: Its when a person thinks so much of themselves they don’t much care about others.
ALICE: So… if I get a trophy for no real reason, then I think I’m simply so wonderful I don’t need to work?
MAD HATTER: Exactly.
ALICE: That makes sense, actually. Why would trained educators not understand this?
MAD HATTER: Most do, sadly. you see, people who don’t find their talents, and who expect gifts for no reason, they can be controlled.
ALICE: They will just show up and demand a trophy which means….
MAD HATTER: Which means scoundrels can then buy their votes…
ALICE: … using share-the-wealth, again!
MAD HATTER: Exactly- Folks who really deserve trophies because of what they do are taxed to buy the fake trophies for those who’ve been taught to just show up.
ALICE: Oh Hatter….
MAD HATTER: Have some more tea, because it gets worse…
ALICE: What is worse than participation trophies?
MAD HATTER: The kids who grow up and create successful businesses are told “You didn’t build that.”
ALICE: But… no one else built them, so how does that make sense?
MAD HATTER: Others invented the wheel, built the roads, made the laws, so nothing is made in a vacuum.
ALICE: So what, though? If I baked a cake then I baked a cake.
MAD HATTER: Of course, but logic is not the point of the argument.
ALICE: Go on.
MAD HATTER: The point is the politicians want to tax everything, so claiming you didn’t build it means you cannot complain no matter how much the government takes from your endeavor.
ALICE: So those who’ve earned only Participation Trophies feel like they are equals to those who actually make a big difference?
MAD HATTER: Exactly. Those people are groomed to demand their share, regardless of their contributions. It seems fair to them — they cannot see a difference!
ALICE: And so many people won’t even feel obligated to do their best.
MAD HATTER: This is literally a disease of the mind; it leads to both economic and spiritual poverty.
ALICE: And to think it all seemed almost harmless! I can see why you might be Mad!
MAD HATTER: Yes, educators harming children and society for political reasons should upset everyone.