The pat on the back society is destructive in the long-run


Edgar Sokoli

Facebook and Instagram likes, Twitter retweets and favorites, all of which in today’s society offer the user an instant self-esteem boost. People today crave gratification from other people and place so much importance into a simple like or favorite count from social media.

It begins with our childhood. In our American society, kids are rewarded for virtually everything. Things that every child should be doing like getting a good grade are met with remarks that uplift the child’s spirit and make themselves feel like they have accomplished an amazing feat.

Yes, love and affection as well as recognizing when a child has done a great thing shouldn’t be overlooked. But this constant flow of fulfillment breeds children to forever crave this feeling. Although, this isn’t the only factor. Kids are constantly pressured by society to try to outdo each other in terms of popularity. In the adolescent world, likes, retweets, and favorites mean you are well known, well liked, popular.

In turn, this pressure forces kids to not be genuine and different, but rather makes kids inflate social media outlets with things, pictures, and ideas that would be deemed “popular” among their peers. Resulting in the regurgitation of the same ideas, it also has an underlying negative effect. Teenagers now post demeaning and rude material in hope for an extra few likes, to gain followers and props.

Society needs to put a halt to this, kids cannot keep craving this feeling of “everyone look at me.”

Mainly, participation awards need to become a thing of the past. Participation awards award the person who comes in first and last. Essentially, this award puts forth a message, “thanks for trying”. Awarding mediocre performance makes kids think that they are good at it, and if kids get awards for everything, naturally, they will think they are good at everything. Kids should be pushed to do better, to achieve whatever they try to do at a high level, and if the child genuinely can’t, then the kid knows that certain activity isn’t his/her thing. How will kids know what they are good at if we hand out awards for everything?

The real world will not hand out awards for finishing a job or doing something at the standard it should be. Rewards are handed out for excelling in a field, and even then, people are not always rewarded. The real world becomes a harsh reality for kids that are raised with this gratification, but a smooth transition for kids that are used to failing, rubbing some dirt on it, and working even harder to achieve the task.

This pat on the back society has resulted in a generation that stands on entitlement. Motivation and resiliency aren’t important anymore, because now the bare minimum is met with a thumbs up. It is vital that kids need to learn to celebrate others’ successes and not envy one another. It’s time that kids learn that not everything will go their way. They may have to endure a few hardships, but in the end they’ll be stronger individuals.