Saturday, February 23, 2013

Leading them to failure in a big glass shell

One day, we were playing tambola at home. The ones who won were jubilant, and the ones who lost.. some of them, the kids, were really sore losers. The biggest heart burner was Quick 5- typically the first prize to be won.

Suddenly, i laughed and said, "If we played tambola like we do grading at school, everyone would get a prize on their Jaldi 5".

A few days later, the gravity of that statement hit me.

The reason the children are sore losers, is not just that they are children. It is also this - Systematically, we, as a society are working to remove failures from their lives. The net result of that is that they also lose the chance to learn coping skills that are so crucial .

Life is made up of failures and successes. its a mix of both. Part of parenting and nurturing children is to teach them how to handle both - success with humility, and failure with resilience. Instead of teaching children coping skills for failure, we, as a society, are working to remove failures from their growing up years. Which is, in one word - STOOPID.

How long can we keep them in this mass glass shelf where there is no failure? where everyone gets a participation prize and no one fails because there are no exams? and when there are exams, we get grades and not marks, so there are no passing marks, and no failures?

And then? And then they enter the "big, bad world" - totally unprepared. This big bad world has dissapointments, and that criminal thing - failure - to secure every job that they sit for, to get every promotion that they want, to get the kind of raise they think they deserve.
And then, 14 year olds commit suicide (we blame the system of course, not the coping mechanism of the child), 24 year olds get stressed, 35 year olds get diabetes and cardiac / BP problems. And adults treat success, not with humility, but with obvious gloating. And failure, not with healthy coping mechanisms, but by blaming the boss, the interviewer, the world, or, best of all, the parents and the spouse.

Here is, in brief, what I am trying to say:
  • Removing failure also removes the opportunity to teach children healthy coping skills.
  • The system is not to blame if your child commits suicide at 14. His/her coping skills are to blame.
  • It is as important to teach children how to deal with success as it is to deal with failure. And gloating or putting other ppl down is NOT  a healthy response to success.
  • When we dont teach our children coping skills, it has definite impact on their health and wellness later in life because we have to deal with failure all our lives.



Onkar said...

Yes, I agree. Children must have the opportunity to experience failure.

Ruchira said...

I think we mollycoddle our kids too much. It is very essential to taste failure if you really want to enjoy your success.The present generation is les resilient and less able to cope with pressure.

Esha - People for the Blind said...

Onkar sir: am so glad u agree.

Ruchira: my thots exactly! there is so lil rigour in their system. a mother once told me, in our times, working hard was not a bad word. her daughter piped in, "we work smart, mom." i told the daughter, "and since when did the 2 become mutually exclusive?"

Indrani said...

Some children are very matured, while some have to be taught. I like the morals laid down by you.

Shail Mohan said...

You have a point.

Mridula Harshvardhan said...

the hard hitting truth


How do we know said...

Hi Indrani: yes, kids are different in their personalities - just like adults.

Hi SHail: welcome to the blog. i have been a reader for some time and also like ur comments on ihm's blog.

Hi Naaz: thank you!! and thank you too, for browsing the blog.

Manish Raj said...

Indeed this is so important. I believe in 'failure' and its importance to succeed. This is something I have imbibed in my kid too. Cheers. Manish.