Recently, parents have been increasingly discussing whether it is advisable to use so many rewards so that we, the growing generation, are motivated to succeed. This idea is important as whether to use punishments for our offences. But, as with most controversial topics, there is no unilateral answer. It can’t be black and white when there are too many shades of grey.

The reason why today's parents feel insecure about whether it is good to encourage their children to such an extent or not is hiding in the far distant past.

They grew up at a time when trophies and awards were received for really special achievements or merits and now they are not completely sure that this is the right way to stimulate and motivate us. On the one hand, it is a fear that supplying so many trophies and prizes will blur our notion of real competition. On the other hand, there is a definite awareness of the effects of praise and rewards.

And what's wrong with the awards? Our whole society builds upon the principle: prize - punishment. This could be anything from a "Well Done" from mum to a toddler when they tidy their room or to a teen when they get good grades at school. And what about all the athletes who gain medals, or the graduates who receive their diplomas, and even the "Like" button could be seen as praise for a specific status.

I myself started to do sport from a very young age and I still remember it very vividly, the day I received my first trophy. It was a very special and emotional moment for me. And do not think that this trophy was a shiny cup or medal, no – it was a small keying with pink goggles on it. But, I was so happy and motivated that I wanted to continue competing and improving on my performance. Neither the encouraging words of my parents nor the support of my coach had such an effect as these plastic goggles.

Over the years, I've received a lot of real trophies and medals for my hard work, but the first one was the most important. It helped me raise my self-esteem and confidence and aim for a higher triumph. If I had not been given that prize to assure me that I was good at what I was doing, maybe I would not be motivated to work harder. If then, in this community pool, a parent had appeared and defended the thesis that the trophies should be reduced, I would have been left disappointed and unbelieving in myself, and I do not know how long I would have continued training for.

Although now, that I am on the threshold of adulthood, I agree that excessive recognition does not allow us to struggle enough to succeed. If someone assures us that we will be the winners, then we will not be aware of the real efforts we need to make, in order to succeed, once we enter the adult world. This, of course, will lead us to underachieve or even fail.

Nevertheless, I believe that every child deserves to be promoted and stimulated for the efforts she or he makes. Sometimes even a sticker can have the value of an Olympic medal in a child’s consciousness.

If you cut off our wings because you're afraid of them getting burned by the sun, how do you want us to fly?

Raya Uzunova - Bancroft's School