When kids are small, their problems are small. As they get older, so do their problems. That is one of the reasons given by parents who have opted to take a family leave with...
The following is an adapted excerpt from The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed (Harper Books, August 11, 2015).
Household participation is the first, and I’d argue essential, step toward building a purpose-driven and fulfilling life for our children. Purpose is what saves us all from despair when the details of life become overwhelming or boring, and it is what fuels the determination, resourcefulness, and resolve that will see our children through to their goals. There are a lot of reasons parents give for not granting their children the space and opportunity to find purpose, among them:
- It’s faster if I do it myself.
- They will just do it wrong anyway.
- Kids should be kids while they can; they will work when they grow up.
- My house will look disgusting and people will judge me.
- My kids will look disgusting and people will judge me.
Enough. It’s time to grant our kids the opportunity to contribute. Allow them to step up, try, fail, and try again until they get it right.
As your child discovers his significance and purpose, it’s important to keep in mind that he’s going to fail.
By: Holly Korbey
August 12, 2015
In the first pages of Being Wrong, Kathryn Schulz writes, “In our collective imagination, error is associated not just with shame and stupidity but also with ignorance, indolence, psychopathology, and moral degeneracy.” This cultural terror of messing up, combined with modern modes of parenting and schooling obsessed with narrow versions of academic and career “success,” are making students more than risk-averse.
Books like How to Raise an Adult and Teach Your Children Well say kids are coming to college “underconstructed,” at best unsure of who they are and where they fit, at worst anxious and depressed, because their parents have protected them from the uncomfortable and unacceptable state of being wrong. Focused on getting the grades or winning the game and excused from helping out around the house, these children have internalized the pressure, and it’s morphed into a monster that paralyzes kids in their ability to take risks, screw up, find out the consequences and learn from their mistakes.
Think Global: Higher education is evolving. MIT announced this week that it will offer a semester’s work of graduate study and credit online and for free. Take a few minutes and...