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Pinewood Derby Awards

Should every child entering a pinewood derby get an award? Or should
only the top cars for design and speed be given a trophy? How about a
compromise? The answer to these questions will likely vary from person
to person, and depends a lot on your philosophy of raising children.

I am not a child psychologist, so I can't argue the theory that
underlies awarding children. But I am a parent that cares about my
children. Before they leave our home, I want to give them a solid
understanding of how they should behave and what they should expect to
encounter in the world.

I do not believe that every child should be equally rewarded, that is,
no winners and no losers. This is certainly not the way the world
operates, and teaching a child this perspective will not prepare them
for reality. In my opinion children need to understand that sometimes
you win, and sometimes you lose, and greater effort leads to greater
opportunities for winning. Learning how to deal with losing (and
winning) builds character and maturity. So I believe that trophies for
the fastest cars and best designs are certainly appropriate.


But on the other hand, I think providing a larger variety of awards
can be a great encouragement for kids. These can be certificates for:
Best Paint Job, Car Most Likely Built By a Kid, Silliest, Funniest,
Most Aerodynamic, etc., etc.

Be careful with these type of awards. If you decide that every
participant will get one, then it will be a big challenge to make sure
that the number of certificates match the number of entrants, and that
the awards are given out appropriately. Again, I don't believe it is
necessary for every entrant to receive an award of this type. But
that leads to ...


Providing all entrants with a ribbon (or alternate) for participating
is certainly appropriate. I am still amazed how much my kids like
those ribbons. Even when they win a trophy, they drape the
participation ribbon over the trophy. Certainly other participation
awards such as pins, patches, etc. can also be used.


I realize this article is a bit short, but of course my experience is
limited to the races sponsored by our organization. So, I would like
to get your input on this topic. If your group has a method of
providing awards that works well or is unique in some way, please send
me a description. I will try to include your comments in a future
newsletter. You can send your comments to:

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 2, Issue 12

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