This is all getting a little bit ridiculous.
In America, the Teen Choice Awards 2014 ceremony has just taken place – and winners included Kylie and Kendall Jenner from the E! series Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Other winners were Selena Gomez, One Direction, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift and a whole host of other stars who have made lots of money in the film, television and music worlds.
To have starred in a popular film or sung a song that has sold lots of copies and is played all over the world and made lots of money – is that really the definition of success? After all, how many of those on the winners’ list have composed their own songs or written the script of the films?
Let’s compare those who won awards with some recent achievements of four New Zealand teenagers:
Lorde (17 years old) – who has become an international top-selling singer who co-writes her own songs
Lydia Ko (also 17) – one of the most successful female golfers in the history of the game
Anton Cooper (19) – winner of the men’s mountain biking event at the Commonwealth Games
Sam Gaze (18) – who won the silver medal in the same mountain biking event
Particularly now, as we remember the start of the Great War, let’s consider how many soldiers who went off to fight in Europe were still in their teenage years? And how many faked their ages so that they could join the army? How many teenage soldiers died in battle and never saw New Zealand again?
Of course, I’m not suggesting that teenagers shouldn’t be recognised for their achievements. But if awards are going to be given, then let them be for achievements worth celebrating – genuine hard work, dedication, hours of practice, self-sacrifice, being selfless, making a real difference.
Article written by Ben Egerton
[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
amongst your students:[/colored_box]
[colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. Do you agree with the article?
2. Can success in international sport be compared with being successful on screen or in music?
3. Is money a good way to define somebody’s success?
4. What does ‘self-sacrifice’ mean?
5. What achievements are worth celebrating?
6. Some people would say that teenagers have yet to reach their full potential, that they still have a lot to learn and a long way to go before their success or achievements can be properly seen. What are the arguments for and against this position?
[colored_box color=”green”]Practical Tasks:
1.a) Draw up a list of characteristics of someone who deserves recognition, rewarding or receiving an award – what kinds of things should that person be or have? (There are some suggestions in the final paragraph of the article). Check those suggestions with a classmate.
b) Read a recent edition of your local newspaper, search Kiwi Kids News or other news websites, watch the television news, talk to friends and family, look back on recent events. Use the list you’ve worked on in 1a) and find people that you think deserve awards. Why should they receive one?
2. Look at what awards, certificates and prize systems are in place in your school. Are they fair? Do they reward the right things? Is it effort or achievement that is celebrated? Have a discussion in the whole class or with a classmate, or maybe with parents, care givers and teachers. Take your concerns to your school principal and discuss your ideas with them.
3. Research other teenage achievers in New Zealand today or from history. Create a way to celebrate their lives and achievements and find a way to share that with your classmates.
[colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say: