Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kids and sponsors

I am not so sure it is a good idea for kids to be sponsored by companies. Even though it is all well-meaning, and supportive, there is a constant pressure that cannot be ignored. Of course there are some who will say, it is a good way to get kids ready for adulthood and for them to learn that all things come at a price. It teaches them good behavior. Good means adult approved in this context.

Books like Outliers also seem to favor heavy handed parental "support." They point out that successful people were exposed very early and spent numerous hours, 10,000 or more to be exact honing their skills. The book even makes an explicit pitch for parents who drive their kids from one activity to the next and have their kid's calendars booked tighter than a those of a chief executive.

Surely the documentaries made around the Spelling Bee, show successful kids surrounded by hard-driving, even tyrannical maniacal parents. It teaches the kids a good work ethic so the saying goes. But is that what success is really all about? Does anyone ever wonder about the victims lying by the wayside?

Does it really make a difference? Surely those who are gifted will do well regardless -note that Outliers would not agree-, and the same applies to those who are not so gifted. I am not so worried about the first group, or whether they achieve their goals through being gifted or through hard work.

While you could argue that that is the key question, I beg to differ. It is not that important. In general when people are good at something, they work hard at it. It is always fun to work on things one is good at and people will do so every chance they get. So the whole question of how they get there is rather academic.

The problem is not there. The problem lies with those who are not the very best. They are the ones between a rock and hard place. Their parents, their coaches, their peers, their sponsors, everyone is pushing them constantly. Add sponsors to the mix and the pressure goes up a few notches. Now the team has to deliver, the coach has to succeed. And there is no easy way out.

No comments: