What a great slogan that was for a nation that resoundingly enjoys their suds. But this past long weekend, I read an article in the Toronto Star by Cathal Kelly that made me decide to write about it in my blog this time around.

To summarize the gist of the article, Kelly was suggesting that Canada does not need an Olympics to prove to the world that it is a great country. In fact, the country’s that typically excel in the international competition are those whose people live in a repressed society – for example, China. He went on to say that as a nation we should be thrilled with the fact that we have competed to the best of our ability and each Canadian should be proud of the fact that there is more to life than our Olympic conquests.

I sat back after reading the article and could not make up my mind as to whether I agreed with his comments or disagreed with them. Does it make sense to be proud of mediocrity and effort alone?

On the one hand, I have always said to my children that I did not care how they did in school as long as the effort that they put in was their best. And I applied that to their athletic ventures as well. On the other hand, there is something that I believe to be inherently wrong with giving a ribbon for participation to the last place finisher in a race even if they put forward the best effort they could muster.

Is it so wrong to reward a select few? One can certainly praise those who are not formally rewarded as Kelly was doing in his article, but should we be giving everyone at the Olympics a ribbon for participating? I do not think so, but we do that to our children these days.

I can distinctly recall finishing toward the back of the pack in any race that I ran as a child. I had two legs that turned to lead three feet after the race started – I was slow, period. I did not deserve a ribbon for trying and I am glad that I grew up in an environment where I was forced to find out what I was good at so that I too could be rewarded. I am glad I learned this lesson as a child because it has stood me well as an adult. If we do not encourage people to find their niche in life, and I believe we are doing this by rewarding mediocrity, what will become of tomorrow’s adults who are ribbon rousers now?

To be corny, when I work with my clients, I help them to find out what is best for them and for them not to simply accept the ribbon provided to them by society.

Told you it was corny :)