Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Dumbing Down of the Holidays or Everyone has to be a winner...

                It’s that time of year again when the great marketing machine ramps up and every other commercial or television show has a holiday theme. Now don’t get me wrong, I love this time of year and love to see the expressions of my kid’s faces when they get to open their gifts. The problem I have with this time of year is how everyone has to go along with the politically correct Happy Holidays theme and sayings. Whatever happened to expressing your choice or religion for this time of year?
                Now hear me out on this. I know some of you feel that saying Happy Holidays is respectful to encompass everyone and should be adequate enough. Of course there are others that will say Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, or Happy Kwanzaa and be proud of stating what they believe or follow. I myself am with the others. Maybe it’s the old age creeping in or maybe it’s the fact I am watching society just fall into a state of “Let’s make everyone feel special” mentality. I celebrate Christmas, the kind with the baby Jesus being born and Three Wise Men finding him on Christmas Eve. Do I impose this on to everyone I meet or force my children to follow in my footsteps? I do not. What I do is give them an option. In today’s world, we are losing site of giving everyone an option to do what they choose. Not sure if you all have noticed but as time have passed over the past 10 years, our choices have been almost removed from us. Even the choice to say proudly Merry Christmas has now been replaced by Happy Holidays or, in my daughter’s school, Special Person’s Day. Really? Special Person’s? What are we teaching our kids when we do this? Hey there little Sally or Johnny! We know you have been raised in a certain way but we don’t want to offend the others so please make sure you keep your faith to yourself. Talk about Scrooge!! Last time I checked, this country grew on the admission of many cultures into one land and to bring these cultures together as a celebration of what type of country we are. Now it seems we can’t be bothered to inform our kids of the differences out there and it’s just easier to have them clump all of it in a big ole bucket of Happy Holidays.
                I would like to share with you all what actually set me off on writing this. What initially set me off was a local story ran by Channel 5 WCVB Boston. As some of you are aware, this is the end of High School Football in most states and thus begins the parades of Super Bowls for each school division. In Massachusetts, there are multitude of division and schools that play for a Super Bowl title and for the most part, could be the only time these kids get to experience something of this caliber. Out of all the wins and losses that happened that day and all the champions that were crowned, one game stood out among them all. It wasn’t because of the final score or who won the game but on how the game was won, or lost depending on your view. Cathedral High School was driving in the final minutes of the fourth quarter for the victory. Cathedral quarterback Matthew Owens was able to break the pocket and scramble into the end zone for the game winning touchdown, or so he thought. Due to a state athletic rule saying no player is allowed to celebrate in a taunting or egregious manner, the play was called for a penalty and thus costing Cathedral the game. You ask what he did that was so bad. Back flip into the end zone? Stop and point at the opposing players before going in for the score? Nope. He just raised his arm in excitement for scoring. Raised his arm. The picture below is that actual event. Guess what world; there are winners and loser everywhere you turn. To turn and penalize this kid for being happy he won is a shame. Ultimately we want these kids to play with no emotion and no matter how things turn out everyone should feel good. I have no problem with my kids celebrating if they hit a game winning shot and celebrating, its part of life. I also have no problem explaining to them that if they take that shot and miss, they run the risk of feeling bad and they should be allowed to feel that. Why games should be designed to make all participants feel good. It’s called competing and if we take that out of sports, we might as well fold up on anything else in life. Life is one big competition; that has the better car, the bigger home, the smarter kids, and the higher paying career. It is human nature to compete.

                I bet you are wondering where this all ties into together, or hopefully you see the parallels. A simple game which should have been won was overturned by the ability to penalize someone for being happy about their single achievement. A calendar date of December 25th which too many out there means something different has now been lumped into a single phrase of Happy Holiday. I think it’s time we start to really look at ourselves and our kids and see if this is really the values we want to hand down to them. If we’re not careful we just may move so far to the side of politically correctness that we may no longer have values of our own. So I say to those of you that celebrate it, Merry Christmas.  For those that celebrate something else or in some other way, be proud of what it is and says it loud!

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