I read an article today about how to raise resilient children (less an exercise in future seeking and more one in current teaching practices/buzzwords). It (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14129/10-tips-to-raise-happy-resilient-kids.html) spoke great wisdom that countered much of the hippie ass, yuppie filled, participant-ribbon shit cultivated by our current society. No, I do not think that we should tell four-year-olds that they suck or that Dirty Harry should throw a child into the deep end of a pool without training or support. However, I do not think that the first time a child hears that they will not be successful will be after they have facial hair.
Working in the high school system, there is a great deal of entitlement when it comes to accomplishments (oxymoronically, because how is it an accomplishment if you didn’t have to earn it, but that it was entitled). However, it is not the kids’ faults – they are innocent (for the most part), they are products of their environments. The CBC documentary I watched last year reported on the anxiety felt by students in the post-secondary world, to the point of having their parents call job interviewers to ensure “success.” In the same way that success is earned, the “real world” requires that failure comes at some point. Yes, as a teacher it makes me hold my breath every once in a while when it must be a teaching tool. But failure allows us to grow. Failure is by no means easy (as someone who has been cheated on by their wife understands [AN ASIDE: another article on the same site (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14075/7-secrets-to-an-amazing-love-life.html) puts that statement into perspective: “Shift your expectations: We falsely assume relationships are meant to be pleasurable and easy, when they’re actually our greatest tools for learning and growth. All of life happens in polarities, cycles, and waves, and while some of love’s lessons are guaranteed to be difficult, they’re always for our benefit.”); but life requires it. Sometimes lands must be scorched to ensure future crops can grow. Rising from the ashes does happen, but only because failure, fire and death precede the rising.
Being resilient takes practice. Practice that must come. We can help guide the journey as long as we start early enough, and we are not starting early enough. Let’s make it a priority to fail. So we can pick ourselves up and begin again; begin stronger, more capable, more resilient, and better at facing the inevitable dangers of the wild.