All the Presidents Win

One of the pet peeves at our home is the “Everyone’s a winner” philosophy. Yes, I know, we are probably way too competitive, but for some reason this really annoys us. We groan when we see a bumper sticker that says, “Every child is an honor student at such and such a school.” We rebel against the idea that excellence cannot be recognized and that all efforts should be equally rewarded.

Our youngest son, Timothy, entered a reading contest at the library this summer. Every time you read a certain number of books, you put a ticket in the pot. The grand prize? Two brand new shiny bicycles – one for a girl and one for a boy. Timothy was really hoping for that bicycle, so he was very excited when my wife brought him to the library last week for drawing day.

Now this contest was not even based on ability or skill. This was a simple drawing a ticket from a box. And yet the woman in charge reminded all the kids before the drawing was made, “I just want you to remember, everyone’s a winner!” Timothy sighed, “Yeah, right!” If everyone’s a winner, then why doesn’t everyone ride home on a shiny new bike?

We were talking about this at the dinner table later in the evening. Of course the motivation is good, the adults don’t want any of the kids to feel bad, but our boys said that all the kids see right through it. And it doesn’t reflect real life when these same kids will later be competing for real jobs and scholarships and championships.

I asked the boys, “What if they ran the presidential race like this? What if they told all the presidential candidates, “It doesn’t matter whether you actually become president or not. Everyone’s a winner!” I liked my son Ramon’s suggestion, “You could give them all participation ribbons!”

No, Timothy did not win the bike. So what are your thoughts on “everyone’s a winner”? Feel free to disagree.


  1. Sharon Gamble says:

    I like to think that everyone is a “winner” at something. It kind of goes along with the gifts of the Spirit. Not all of us are gifted at singing or teaching or hospitality, etcetera, but each of us is uniquely suited to do something well. It’s a good lesson in humility to celebrate others when they win at what they are good at. It’s also a great responsibility to do well at what we are good at. No one should win at everything. good grief. That would result in a definite loss of humility!! It’s good for us to lose. That’s my input. 🙂

  2. Barrie says:

    I understand why its very popular to have the everyone’s a winner attitude in our society. Unfortunately, we are not always a winner in everything that we try. God expects us to be humble and not winning can be a very hard thing to cope with. Its called character building. I do agree with Sharon’s take on this also. We all have God given talents and He expects us to use them but when we expect to be winners at everything, we are placing more emphasis on us than on God. I can remember being a youth coach many years ago and one thing that we always wanted to impart to our young atheletes was that you will not win everytime you play but all you can do is try and do your best. Its part of taking responsibility for our actions. I really enjoyed Ramon’s comment on your question about the presidential race. I am looking forward to seeing what others think about this topic.

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