Dr Joe Kosterich
My late mother said that if you had a washing basket big enough you could pile clothes on top of each other and after 30 years tip it upside down. The clothes on the bottom would be new and fashionable again.
This principal applies elsewhere. I was reminded of this recently by research showing children needed to be allowed to make mistakes, to get dirty, to explore the world without constant supervision and to lose sometimes.
This was, not surprisingly, going to make them more resilient and better prepared for the ups and downs of life. Like it or not, things do not always go our way.
It has always been thus.
Most baby boomers will recall that in school you were only told you did something well if you actually had. If you didn’t get enough points to pass a test you failed and were told you needed to improve.
In sport there was a winning and losing team. It didn’t make you a “bad” person to lose. You learned that in each aspect of life some people were better than others and what your strengths and weaknesses were.
You also learned that if you failed a test or came last that the world kept spinning.
Somewhere this got lost. Whilst it is important for children to grow up with self-confidence and a strong sense of self, they need resilience to do this.
Resilience comes from being able to cope with setback, learn the lesson and have another go.
As Rocky Balboa tells his son; “It isn’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and still keep going”.
The desire to shield children from “loss” leads some junior sports to not keep score. How ridiculous. The children will intuitively know who won and whilst it does not matter who wins, someone has. They will cope with it. The parents are the ones who seem to struggle!
“Failing” is part of life. Seeking to protect children from this is like seeking to stop them falling. A child will never learn to walk without the lessons, which come from falling. No child will reach their maximum potential in life without the lessons from “failing”.