I’m filling out this in-depth form to apply for a professional program, and it asks about school honors, awards, and prizes. Which jogged my memory enough to recall that within a few years of each other in grade school, I: won first place in a state-wide young author competition for a book called “Herman the Horse Gets Lost,” was asked to present a talk on “fighting fair” to a student group, got a standing ovation for singing “The Greatest Love of All” in a talent show, won both “Most Valuable Player” and the “Best Sportsmanship Award” on my youth softball team, had a still life I painted in a local show of student work, starred in a play and acted in several others, and won a state-wide 1st place award for a game called “Doggie” I programmed in BASIC.
Clearly I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up… which is fine because most of what I’ve “been” as a grown-up didn’t exist when I was a kid.
Anyway, no one gives kids awards for customer experience optimization or digital behavior strategy insight. At least they didn’t in the ’80s. But they do recognize enthusiasm and effort, and thank goodness no one ever told me as a kid I couldn’t be interested in a lot of different things.
I hope people still give kids awards and recognition for lots of things they’re only a little bit good at, and mostly for what they’re passionate about. You never know what kind of identity they’ll build for themselves from those “award-winning” skills.