Where is the next prize winning short story coming from?
Where do we find prize winning short stories from kids? Hey, they're all winners! They better be.
I don't like 'writing contests' for kids. Is it right to get kids writing by way of contests at all? What would be the end result? Children with lesser abilities might eagerly join in and post essays or short stories that don't quite hit the mark. They haven't figured out that they probably don't stand a chance.
Then there are those writers of greater skill who measure the type of contest from the outset. They count themselves out of the running if they predict they won't make it into the top three. So those that remain have determined that their chances of getting to the top ranks are very good.
What's left? Some super high achievers, contrasted by several on the lower wrungs who would never make it up the ladder. There will be no middle ground and no reasonable models for young writers to follow along the way. The successful stories will be out of reach and potentially discouraging by comparison. You will have winners... very good stories likely, but at what cost?
I would never recommend putting a child into a contest involving mental skill unless they have previously proven that they can handle winning and losing gracefully. Otherwise, you may produce a very disappointed child with limited self-esteem, or, one who may possess many first place trophies, but inadequate social skills.
Raising children, just like eating healthy, takes balance. If a parent over-exposes a child to any particular activity or influence, they take on a serious responsibility. The impacts of that activity or influence will stay with the child forever, both good and bad.
Strangely, and I'll have to think about why, our society, mostly the media, all too often idolizes sports figures, but doesn't give a hoot about Nobel prize winners. If some parents are compelled to raise super achievers, at least let's concentrate on activities that can help future generations.
Return from Prize Winning to Short Stories Help Children
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