Instead, the show's producers drew a line in the sand.
"If 'Jeopardy!' were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players," the producers of "Jeopardy!" wrote. "We love presenting young people as contestants on our show and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment."
I admire the show for not backing down. We aren't doing children a favor by making everything gentle and even. A child would be better prepared for a life that is seldom fair if they're taught from an early age how to handle -- with grace -- the hand that they're dealt.
Feeling disappointed or even embarrassed by a loss is completely normal, but it's how the child is taught to deal with what happened that matters. Rather than wallow and complain, Hurley should've been advised to stand up straight, give himself a pat on the back for having been clever enough to qualify for the show, and then maybe been shown how to make a self-deprecating joke or two that would show his strength of character, and move on.
If we continue treating everyone the same, regardless of effort or skill, we're going to have a seriously hot mess on our hands. We're going to be dealing with generations raised to believe they're entitled to much that they simply are not. An almost-right answer is not the same as the right one. A ball downed on the one-yard line is not a touchdown. Almost getting the job doesn't get one a paycheck. That's life.
Some will probably disagree, claiming there's no harm in giving trophies or pretty certificates or more of "Jeopardy!'s" money to all, but what they're failing to see is that by rewarding everyone, the prize is devalued. How is one child's self-esteem more important than the other child's hard work and achievement? Rewarding the child who was wrong takes away from the one who was right.
We need to stop looking at it as raising children. We're raising adults. If we want them to become functioning members of society, they need to learn how to win and how to lose. They need to be able to take criticism, cope with arbitrary decisions and handle setbacks with class.
And they need to see that people who work hard to achieve are rewarded more than those who do not.
Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinful...@gmail.com.