If you’re a fan of the Food Network or cooking shows in general, you’ve probably noticed the overabundance of shows featuring kids these days. Namely, Chopped Junior, Kids Baking Championship, Rachael vs Guy Kids Cook-off, and on a different note, Project Runway Junior on Lifetime.Chopped Junior

I haven’t watched all of these shows, but I’ve caught a few. At first, before watching any of the shows, I had a negative attitude. Why would I want to see a bunch of kids cook or sew or whatever. It didn’t appeal to me.

But as a longtime viewer of both Chopped and Project Runway, I started watching. And now I don’t want to miss an episode. First, these kids have more talent than I can imagine. They inspire. They have passion, and most of all, they have FUN!

But one of the main things I’ve noticed is the spirit and positive attitudes of these kids. Yes, they’re on a competition show, and unfortunately, not all will win. But these kids have the attitude of “we’re all in this together” and “isn’t it great that we’re all on this show.” There’s a real sense of camaraderie. They want the best for each other and they’re willing to help each other out.

On Chopped Junior specifically, if one kid finishes early and another is still plating, the first kid will help out his fellow contestant so they can finish. There’s a sense of everyone needs their shot at this, a sense of fair play. Let everyone do their best.

You don’t always see this sportsmanlike behavior in the adult versions of these shows. The adult version comes with the “it’s all about me” attitude. Not willing to help their fellow contestants, not even cheering for them. Now this isn’t true in all cases, of course, but there’s a definite difference. And by airing these shows with kids, those differences become very apparent.

Now, I appreciate good competition as much as the next person. It’s one reason I love tennis. For the most part, you leave everything on the court, then you go to the net and shake hands. You should be appreciative of the competition and appreciative of the talents of the other person across the net.

If you lose a competition, or lose the tennis match, it doesn’t mean you’re not talented, or that this isn’t what you’re supposed to do, it just means you lost that match, that competition. What do you do from here? Learn from it and move on.

You get a feeling that these kids are learning. Learning that they won’t win every time. Learning that not winning means they don’t have talent or this isn’t what they’re supposed to do. And maybe most important, they’ve shared an experience with their fellow competitors and possibly have made lifelong friends.
So, what can we as adults learn from these kids? I think we need to learn to appreciate others around us, learn to appreciate the competition, the ups and downs, and maybe most important, the acceptances and rejections of life and how to move on, gracefully, head held high. Because we did our best despite the outcome. We need to accept responsibility for our own errors, and always try to do our best. We need to realize it’s not all about me.

I want to be appreciative of all the situations, good and bad, and maybe one of the most important things, I don’t ever want to lose my sense of fun!

Amazing what you can learn from kids, if you look around and pay attention.

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  1. Terry Cummings Cocking

    A friend and I watch these shows “together” across the country. In addition to your points here, we noticed how the kids are always graceful losers, even when they’re crying. Not a single kid we’ve seen has ever said, “I didn’t deserve to be chopped/cut.” Adult competitors do that regularly. The kids are genuinely grateful for the chance to be there and what they learn. I also enjoy the way the adult judges interact with the kids. It’s a different side of them we don’t usually see, especially Gordon Ramsey on Master Chef Junior.

    • Rebecca Yauger

      Hi Terry,
      I agree with your comment. They are graceful and just love the opportunity of being there. The adult competitors could definitely learn a lot from these kids! And yes, you’re right about how the judges are interacting with them. It’s really great.
      Thanks for stopping by!


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