From earliest childhood we are told that we are all special little snowflakes with unlimited potential and the opportunity to be whatever we want to be, as long as we want it badly enough and are willing to work hard enough to achieve it. The problem is, that’s not true.
[will expand on this thought … later.]
It’s now a little less than a month later, proving that I am not a ‘special snowflake’ at all but just another lazy condensation nuclei killing time until the inevitable precipitation. But I digress …
Expectation and disappointment. That’s what we are teaching our children by promising equality in excellence. Please don’t think for a minute that I am suggesting we tell our youth that they are stupid or lazy, even though some definitely are. What I’m suggesting is that a modicum of reality be included with the positive reinforcement fairy tale.
Yes, fairy tales. These are the stories we tell our kids when they are too naive to understand that they are only stories. When the story always ends with a happily ever after, they believe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, not just the way we hope it might be. This isn’t preparing them for the possibility of tragedy in their lives. It may never happen, but it could, and it does much too frequently. Let’s not try to teach our children to swim only after they’ve fallen in the pool.
Let them fail. Yes. Fail. Miserably fail like Mr. Losey McLoserson. And when they fail, let them know they failed. Don’t say it’s okay. Kids aren’t stupid (okay, some are, but the really stupid ones don’t even know they’ve failed). Kids know you’re only trying to make them feel better and if you drone on about how they made a good effort and tried their hardest, they’ll start to treat you like the pandering, pompous liar that you are. What they need to know is that while they did indeed fail, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. They can learn all sorts of things from failure, like being able to adapt to improve, to look at situations in differing perspectives, and discovering their own limits. Or we can give them a trophy for failure. That’s much easier and it makes them feel good right away.
We must strive and make others feel good all the time or we are mean, nasty spawn of the underworld. Yeah, no. And while we’re at it, let’s not worry so much about feeling safe from the imaginary boogie man, when the real monsters don’t really care how we feel. As a matter of fact, some of the bad guys want us to feel bad. Go figure.
The opinions expressed herein are mine, but can be yours too for a small fee. Let me know if that makes you feel good.