Handling Failure

The topic of failure and how kids these days react to it came up at my class yesterday when we were discussing the trends and history in education. Some of the issues covered were dress code, discipline, legislature… but the topic of failure caught my attention a bit more than the others.

I remember failing as a child. My parents didn’t try to make up for it or make me feel better by compensating with a gift. They also didn’t tell me a fake story about how it was actually someone else’s fault and not mine. I was raised to take ownership of my choices and understand the consequences of those choices.

Many kids today are very fragile. One life skill that is not being modeled or communicated is handling failure. We are always trying to protect the emotional space of a child but in turn making them weak individuals. We have more kids with emotional issues now than ever before. The helicopter parenting, the “every child is a winner” mentality is crippling.

I’m all for positive reinforcement, I’m all for empathy, but true nourishment of the mind comes from experiencing a variety of emotions and getting skilled at dealing with them.

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
– Truman Capote