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March 7, 2012 by esarsea

Originally posted on Rochester SAGE - Supporting Advanced & Gifted Education:

Heinlein Quote

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do. – John Stuart Mill

I want my kids to fail.  That probably isn’t at the top of your list for your kids, but it should be.  Failure is one of the most important experiences they will ever have.  The road to success is paved with failure because failure teaches us how to succeed.

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4 thoughts on “

  1. torqdog says:

    This article rings true and I’ve been saying this all along. When I had my business, I actually looked forward to new employees making mistakes because it was the only method for determining whether said employee was capable of “learning”. The Picture Framing industry is a “trade” that takes many years to master and If an employee wasn’t capable of taking new paths based on previous failures, they had no chance of moving up to the next level so to speak.

    I suppose that all the “self esteem” crap dished out in the schools has been a definite hinderance to folks getting any kind of meaningful education. When they started praising kids for simply making the “attempt” to answer a math problem rather than praising them for an actual correct answer, I knew we were heading down the wrong path and it has now manifested itself in society. Look around!

  2. Bill says:

    Like a lot of good ideas, the self-esteem movement was rooted in a positive effort to reduce the number of kids who simply stop trying because they never win, either from scholastic or physical abilities, or lack thereof.

    And I ‘get’ that idea, it’s just a matter of giving a kid positive enforcement for making an effort.

    Where it crossed the line , in my opinion, is when All kids got trophies, win or lose, or All kids were celebrated as ‘winners’ when they lost a competition , etc., which waters-down the winning performance and effort and kinda says,”Don’t worry about winning, worry about how you play the game, ’cause even if you lose, you win!”

    • torqdog says:

      ……. or how about when they just quit keeping score because it might hurt those precious feelings amongst the kids on the losing side of the game. Yeah, the self esteem movement was a poorly thought out program that WAS based on good intentions but how many other examples of poorly thought out programs gone bad that had similar roots in “good intentions” can be found? I think we can all name a few.

      I feel that even though we are not created equal as each of us is quite unique, we do have an equal chance at finding our destiny. I mean, I could never be a Used Car Salesman or Trial Lawyer because I have too much integrity that’s rooted in my being an honest person. But I’m also sure that people who excel in those two professions could never do what I have done as a Picture Framer as it just isn’t in their “make-up”. That’s not to say that one or the other is better as they all serve a purpose in society but finding that niche is what allows one to succeed. There are many folks out there who unfortunately never find that avenue to success and when you add in the fact that they’ve possibly been dealt a buch of self-esteem faux-posit training, they become ones who are sadly over confident about not knowing much. A recipe for disaster IMHO.

  3. Bill says:

    This is unfortunately another point of contention between liberals and conservatives, it seems.

    I have a different take on the outcome in life for kids who aren’t star quality in a country that rewards celebrity , beauty, success, money, material wealth, competition at any expense and you’re either cool or you’re not.

    My perspective is affected by being a parent and a sibling.

    My younger brother got my grandpa’s looks, for some genetic reason and he was a blue-eyed blonde in a 5 member family of Greek-American Indian mix. Everywhere we went as kids, other kids would make cruel comments about his looks and personality. He was very different from the rest of us. If you’ve seen the movie “Powder,” kind of like that. So, while his big, strapping brother got picked for everything from leader of the neighborhood rock throwing fights to invited to birthday parties in the hood to having to keep the grade school bullies off him on the way home at night, I see a pattern that lead him to believe that he wasn’t worthy of a decent, satisfying life.

    They have a caste system in India that the entire world eschews as barbaric and cruel where once you are deemed to belong to a lower class caste, that is your fate. Kind of like some of this year’s election clowns have claimed, that college isn’t for everyone and it’s snobbish to want that and some people will just be better suited as mechanics and bus drivers.

    As a parent, a simple anecdote is how my older kid went out for little league football, made the team and the asst. coach put him in at defensive end. Then, the head coach’s kid had no where to go because he was a waste of space in a uniform and screwed around and was not really into it. But he played every game and every practice in that position while my kid stood there on the sidelines. When it came time to play in games, the coach would put my kid in reluctantly, then pull him out the next play when he didn’t know the plays because the coach’s kid played the position in practice. That experience of not having a level playing field, so to speak, soured my kid on football and organized sports in general.The team had to tolerate a lazy, not-serious coach’s kid in a key position, as well.

    I’m all for giving people a chance and never like killing a kid’s dreams by taking the attitude that ‘life’s tough, then you die’ position. I know you have a buddy who will accuse me of being a “guilt-ridden, spineless hippie,” but that’s his problem. I’d choose that route any day than one day wishing I hadn’t been so damn hard-hearted in life.

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