Are we raising this generation of children to be fearful of everything? Are we discouraging children to simply play, be creative, and problem solve on their own? Are we creating less resilient children who are not used to failing? Some are going to agree with me on my following statements and some are not; nevertheless, from my experiences in the classroom, I am going to go out on a limb here and say we are doing our children a disservice by not helping them become more resilient.
First, lets talk about youth sports. Youth sports is a $15 billion business that has grown 55% since the year 2010. Every sport at varying ages, when children participate in seems to warrant a trophy. Seriously, why? What is the point? Where is that piece of hardware going to end up 10 years from now? 15? 20? Can we be honest with one another for just a minute? Perhaps your child and their team were not the best on a particular day of competition and do not deserve a trophy. Giving everyone a participant trophy actually does the opposite of what it is intended to do. There are more hurt feelings because the child cannot handle the truth, which in turn effects their ability to be resilient. We have to start teaching our children that it is okay to fail in order to become more resilient!
Second, our curriculums are created to help the learner connect with the material and the concepts being taught. Failing will build resilience as long as we are helping children to see the importance of continuing to try. Failure should be incorporated into the learning process. In a standards-based philosophy, it is the failure that helps students review and re-work the parts of the content that they misunderstood. Failure allows the student to understand a new skill, further their knowledge of the content or information presented in class. Learning new content in a failure accepting environment allows students to embrace change and celebrate their successes.
Together, we can help the next generation to be more resilient and better equipped to accept and grow from the failures they experience.