The other day my wife and I attended the awards ceremony for first grade students at our daughter’s elementary school. Our daughter did receive an award as well as several other certificates of recognition.
I noticed that every student received at least one certificate of recognition. On one hand, that seems to be a good thing as it is a positive reenforcement of good behaviors and values as well as a self-esteem. On the other hand, when every child must be recognized for something – just like when every little league team, rather than just the league champions, must receive some award – it seems to create an unreal self-perception that can (though not necessarily) cultivate a sense of narcissism, entitlement, and over-inflated confidence.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal?” But could our need to make a winner out of every child be an aversion to making disciples of our children? David Kinnaman writes:
If you already know all there is to know, if you’ve been told your entire life that you’re “just right” exactly the way you are, if the main job or the god you believe in is to make you feel good about yourself (because you’re entitled to great self-esteem, along with everything else), then there are not a lot of compelling reasons to sit in the dirt at the feet of Jesus and live the humble life of a disciple.*
What do you think?
* David Kinnaman, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church… And Rethinking Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011), 118.