Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail
You see, teachers don’t just teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. We teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint, and foresight. These skills may not get assessed on standardized testing, but as children plot their journey into adulthood, they are, by far, the most important life skills I teach.
I’m not suggesting that parents place blind trust in their children’s teachers; I would never do such a thing myself. But children make mistakes, and when they do, it’s vital that parents remember that the educational benefits of consequences are a gift, not a dereliction of duty. Year after year, my “best” students — the ones who are happiest and successful in their lives — are the students who were allowed to fail, held responsible for missteps, and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their mistakes.
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I have worked with some of the smartest, most highly educated people on the planet and have been astonished to find them paralyzed with doubt simply because they don’t know how to deal with the prospect of failure.
I should tell people more about my gigantic failures. You know about some of them. But I have, over the years, spent a great deal of time and money on things that you have never heard of that were bad ideas and that I am even embarrassed to have been a part of.
I have failed and been held responsible for my failures as a child, a student, a friend, a boyfriend, an employee, a creator, and an entrepreneur. I have failed myself and I have failed the people I love.
When, in my history as a vlogbrother, I made videos that were bad or disprespectful or thoughtless, I have been held accountable by Nerdfighteria. Sometimes, when I say “I’m sorry, I should not have said that” people in the comments will reply “YOU DON’T HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR YOUR CREATIONS OR YOUR OPINIONS!” but I do…because sometimes my creations and my opinions are wrong. And sometimes I just don’t think as much as I should have.
And sometimes your thoughts and opinions are wrong too. And sometimes you’re thoughtless, or driven by fear instead of love, or just having a bad day. We will all fail…failure is not a reflection on character…but not admitting failure when it is apparent, or being held back by the prospect of failure, or devastated when it arrives…those are the flaws that we all need to work hard to overcome.