|Dinosaur School (teacher in orange)|
A recent op-ed from the New York Times, "Raising Successful Children" talks about a study in which children that were praised for doing a simple puzzle and told how smart they were were more reluctant than unpraised children to try additional harder puzzles, presumably for fear of failing, and losing their status as "smart". Failing is an important, let's say very important, skill in life.
I don't like that word "successful." It makes me cringe. What I most want for my daughter is happiness. I believe resilience is a key ingredient in happiness.
|Miss B came up with whole dinosaur school idea herself and |
class has been in session every morning this week. I am a student too : )
Yet while there may be danger in over flattering, in the past I've noticed some children around me whose parents didn't praise them, seemed to doubt that their parents saw their value as a person. These children did not seem resilient, or more willing to try the hard puzzles in life, and they don't seem happier now. How do you teach the importance of trying? How do you teach that it's ok to fail? I suppose by encouraging your children to try, and even though it pains us, to let them fail. But also, importantly, to let your child see you trying and sometimes failing at a daunting puzzle or challenge. To live bravely, to try new things, to put yourself out there for the things you love and be able to show and talk about the failures as well as the successes.
The last line in the article is just amazing.
"One of the most important things we do for our children is to present them with a version of adult life that is appealing and worth striving for."
Are you doing that?
I'm trying, and I bet you are too.
"Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?"
- Mary Oliver, The Summer