Saturday, April 03, 2010

I fall down - but I get up again

Two really good articles in today's Sydney Morning Herald stress the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes.

In her article Helicopter Parents Not Doing Enough To Let Children Fail, Anna Patty refers to Rod Kefford, headmaster of Barker College's comment that
In some ways self-esteem has been the most damaging educational concept that has ever been conceived.
It is only through our failings in the learning process that we learn anything.
He said schools needed to give children the confidence to risk failure to encourage more creative thinking.


In the other article, Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, says Making mistakes and having them gently corrected is one of the best ways to learn.

Twenge, who co-wrote The Narcissism Epidemic, says parents should tell their children that they love them instead of saying you're special and you can be anything you want to be.

Feeling special often means the expectation of special treatment. Your parents might think you're special, but the rest of the world might not. This can be a difficult adjustment, especially in the workplace.

In my second stint as a classroom teacher, [from 1983-99] I noticed that parents were now doing their kids' homework. Students were coming to school with intricate models of cathedrals that they could not possibly have made themselves.

This bothered me, because I knew that if I ever felt the inclination to do my kids' homework [and I never did], I would not measure up. I also wondered why history students were making models and not reading and writing [which was what attracted me to being a Modern History student in my days at school].

I also discovered that even Christians felt it was ethical to do their children's home work for them. In one case, a parent who was also a church worker, would sit at the computer and write the assignment, but every so often, allow his daughter to make a suggestion!


Strange days! Most peculiar, Momma!

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Fascinating stuff here David, and a challenge to me as the Dad of a 20 month old. Failure can be so fruitful that I need to avoid protecting her from it...food for thought indeed.

There are undoubtedly spiritual parallels here as well in terms of discipleship and the encouragement of young believers I'd imagine.

God bless,
Andrew