Today I’m heading to Pittsburgh to speak to the Eagle Forum group there and it will be my second time to the “City of Champions.” I’m looking forward to another great morning run along the Three Rivers — very scenic. And it will be particularly nice to be in Steelers country right now.I’d like to personally weigh in on why player James Harrison’s response to his sons’ participation trophies is so heartening. ESPN.com, Harrison’s football background might provide insight into why he feels this way. Harrison was a Kent State walk-on who went undrafted in 2002, played a season in NFL Europe and was cut by the Baltimore Ravens before latching on with the Steelers and becoming a force. That all drove him to “do better.”
First of all, let me repeat the maxim, which my mom, the venerable Elizabeth “Snooks” West inculcated in me: “self-esteem only comes from doing estimable things.” God bless James Harrison for first of all being there as a dad to his sons at a time when only 25 percent of black children have Mom and Dad in the home. And a special hat tip to Harrison for leading by example. They will indeed be better men for this simple but vital lesson he just imparted to them. The world is about meritocracy and not just believing that showing up results in a trophy — that eventually leads to entitlement.Of course, I can already hear the detractors who will say that Harrison’s decision will hurt the feelings of his sons… but not when they consider what their dad accomplished through hard work.
If there were more parents in America who imparted such a lesson to their children, especially in the black community suffering under almost three generations of welfare nanny-state dependency, we would have a different country. And consider how this becomes part of the workforce — when everyone believes they are entitled to a “bonus.” Just look at what happened to the tech company owner in Seattle who thought he was a swell guy by paying everyone a $70,000 minimum wage. Now, all of a sudden he’s struggling while some employees quit because they witnessed mediocre employees being given higher pay — just because.
You see, it probably made the coaches feel good that they gave every kid a trophy but that is not life.But what happens when a government is run that way — when you have a group of people who feel someone should be given a fish, not taught how to fish. What happens when there is a group of people who believe the handout is better than the hand up, that the hammock is better than the safety net?
What happens is the drive, determination, and desire to excel is lost. What happens is you reward the mediocre at the expense of the exceptional until the point comes when all you have is mediocrity – and it doesn’t help when people are told if they own something, like a business, they didn’t build it. What happens when political correctness advances the idea that having a Valedictorian or Salutatorian hurts the feelings of the other students? Then no one seeks academic excellence.
This is all the result of adults who felt they knew best for kids and decided that no one should keep a score — trust me, kids keep score. And if there is no reward for hard work and effort, then why exert effort?
James Harrison may have just started a revolution that could restore this society. He took a stand and let’s be honest, we NEED more black dads to take a stand. Something tells me his sons will NEVER go into a convenience store assault the owner, rob the store and then proceed to assault a law enforcement officer. The reason why? They’ll be too busy out there earning a trophy and not succumbing to the insidious idea that “da man” owes them something. James Harrison’s life in indicative of the city for which he plays football. A city that was built on the simple idea of going out and working hard and producing something that represents America — steel.Steel is made strong, ready, purified by intense heat — that is what it means to be an American, not the la-la-land visions of the progressive socialists who hand out plastic articles for the sake of making themselves feel good. Let us all become Steelers: strong, ready, and hardened for the building of a great nation…our Constitutional Republic, these great United States of America.
Bravo James Harrison, Bravo!