Friday, April 28, 2017

The Gift of Failure

This is a must-read book, especially if you have anything to do with tweens and teens. The author, Jessica Lahey, a mother of two boys AND a middle school teacher, has all of the correct instincts when guiding parents through the perils of how parents should handle failure with their children. Here are three quotes from the book that can apply to any child and parents:

In order to raise healthy, happy kids who can begin to build their own adulthood separate from us, we are going to have to extricate our egos from our children’s lives and allow them to feel the pride of their own accomplishments as well as the pain of their own failures. (p. xv)

The less we push our kids toward educational success, the more they will learn. The less we use external, or extrinsic, rewards on our children, the more they will engage in their education for the sake and love of learning. (p. 22)

Teach your children to face failure and accept it as valuable feedback. Let them see you taking risks and failing, and talk about those failures as opportunities to better yourself. (. 238)

I personally read the book through the lens of a middle school teacher, former head of two schools, and a father of two sons. Some of my thoughts on failure are captured in "Rethinking the 'F' Word" an article I wrote back in 2008 for Independent School magazine.