Take a look around; America is no longer the America of exceptionalism. We are now the nation of “participation trophies”, political correctness and multiculturalism, which is mediocrity at best, socialism at worst. When I launch my Internet browser, it defaults to MSN. I know I should change it to something more mind stimulating like PolitiChicks.tv–but I get a kick out of reading what my fellow American citizens find newsworthy on a daily basis.
Today the first thing that caught my attention was the headline, “Librarian wants to ban 5-time reading champ from contest”…there was no stopping me from clicking my mouse on that headline to find out more. It turns out that for the 5th year in a row, 9-year old Tyler Weaver read 63 books this summer to win Hudson Falls Public Library’s annual summer reading contest. This kid is one awesome bookworm and he reminds me that everyone has their own area to shine; everyone has their own personal gifts. Does that mean if you excel in one area because other people do not you should stop doing what you love? Apparently, that’s what the librarian at Tyler Weaver’s school believes.
Hudson Fall’s Library Director Marie Gandron told The Post-Star newspaper that Tyler “hogs the competition” and now other kids no longer want to even compete–so it’s “only fair” that he should just step aside.
When will we start teaching children that life isn’t fair and that’s ok! Life is what you make it. It is about hard work, passion, and dedication and during that process you learn what you love to do. Tyler Weaver’s mother, Katie, is doing something right by cultivating this thirst for knowledge in her children. Tyler clearly loves reading and his younger brother has also taken 2nd place two years in a row now. (Uh oh, they’ve created some type of Reading Club Dynasty; clearly we need to put an end to that right now!) The truth is, for many children in Tyler’s school, the reading contest might only be about getting a t-shirt or water bottle for winning; for Tyler, it’s about being rewarded for doing something he simply loves to do. One year, children had to read books pertaining to different regions of the United States. Most of them dropped out because they thought it was boring—but not Tyler. He was intrigued and ended up choosing one book for each of the 50 states. Smart kid.
In addition to encouraging Tyler to drop out of the competition, librarian Gandron is also trying to change the prize rules for the reading club so that it becomes a “random drawing” rather than a ‘grand prize’ for the most books read. Perhaps Gandron has a sour taste in her mouth regarding the contest because a few years ago a young girl lied about reading 200 books with the mother supporting her, so now children have to answer questions as they turn in their books. (A wise decision, in my opinion.)
I suppose for some people it just comes down to being equal and not wanting anyone’s feelings to get hurt. Of course, we simply have to look around to see where that kind of thinking has gotten us right now. Can you imagine what would have happened 237 years ago if we had no exceptional thinkers and everyone just kind of went along living their lives mediocrely? The great experiment we are blessed to call America would never have been born and we might never have had the great innovators of our country–Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver, Wright Brothers or Steve Jobs—all because someone told them they couldn’t be great anymore because they have had 5 years of being great at 9 years old–and now it’s someone else’s turn.