Starting the Conversation Should Everyone Get a Trophy?

Marianne and the Tony!

Marianne and the Tony!

By: Marianne Reid Anderson

Recently, James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers made the news for his parenting skills rather than his football skills. His sons had received “participation trophies.” These are trophies given to children involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities, from team sports to individual competitions and so forth, and all a child needs to do to receive a participation trophy is show up.

Mr. Harrison vehemently disagrees with the practice of giving and receiving participation trophies so returned his sons’ trophies. Mr. Harrison posted his views on Instagram, “I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues

Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Harrison? Some agree that participation trophies are leading children to a sense of entitlement and a “where’s mine” attitude even as adults in the workplace. But are participation trophies really responsible? I know that when I enter a bake-off, no matter what color ribbon I might be given for entering, if I don’t earn the coveted “blue ribbon” then, I need to work harder and do better.

But, as always, what do you think? Let’s continue the conversation on my blog at or email me at