This week marked the return to school for those of us with children. The headmaster of my eldest son had written a letter to the returning parents which highlighted three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to correct them which he had read from a blog. I thought this was really poignant especially parenting this generation’s child, and I thought I would share it with you.
- We risk too little
- We rescue too quickly
- We rave too easily
This same blogger comments that our children should “be inoculated with doses of hardship, delay, challenges and inconvenience to build the strength to stand strong”.
There is an American term “grit” which is fairly common currency at the moment, and this involves taking effort to a whole new level of commitment, resilience and perseverance.
Daniel Pink writes about how every summer 1200 young people arrive at the US Military Academy at West Point for 4 years of study but first they have to go through Beast Barracks; one in 20 drops out before the end of the summer training and takes the first exit. Pink wonders about those who stay the course; what did they have that was different? Was it physical strength and agility? Intellect? Leadership ability? Well roundedness?
What the researchers found was a non-cognitive and non-physical trait which they termed “grit” and defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” Pink goes onto say “Mastery – becoming even better at something you care about – is not lined with daisies and spanned by a rainbow….Mastery hurts.”
The blog-writer doesn’t mince his words and ends his article with these words: “Bottom line? Your child does not have to love you every minute. He’ll get over the disappointment of failure but he won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. So let them fail, let them fall, and let them fight for what they really value. If we treat our kids as fragile, they will surely grow up to be fragile adults.
We must prepare them for the world that awaits them. Our world needs resilient adults not fragile ones.” Let us work together this year to develop
Boys who love learning and who are prepared to put in the hard yards, taking sensible risks and overcoming difficulties as part of the learning process.