The fear of failure for all of us can be a scary endeavor. It places a chill in our spine with the prospects of not succeeding in our life and actions. We as parents have robbed our children of the opportunity to learn from failure just as we did.
In schools today we push and push for more rigor and relevance but yet when the course work becomes difficult and one of our millennial children does not obtain an A the many of us look for people to blame. Often times the finger ends up pointing at our teachers.
When did failure become such a horrible thing in schools? I can remember as a high school senior with very serious senioritis that one of my government teachers gave me a very hard dose of reality by failing me on one of our test. That may not seem like a big deal but it was a course I had to pass to graduate. The failure forced me to buckle down and end the school year on a high note. Without that failure who knows what might have happened to me.
Obviously when you are an airline pilot or astronaut failure may not be an option, but for the rest for us we learn so much more from failure then we do success. If we do not allow ourselves to take risk and stumble it will be impossible for us to achieve the goals we really want to achieve.
Now you are saying why is that important in terms of millennials? We have created youth where everyone gets a trophy for trying hard or participation. We discuss what is fair all of the time with them. We build scaffolds and shelters around them so they have no chance for failure. Many would say this is a good thing and we need to continue to push every child to the top.
The problem is all of the safety nets we have in place and all of the shelters do not allow them to take the hard bumps of reality. They do not know what it is like to hit the ground hard. They have not been taught how to pick themselves up and get started again.
I have witnessed it first hand as a coach and a parent. No one wants to be corrected anymore they are so use to someone bailing them out that they do not know how to handle adversity. Think about it much of what we are was determined through the fires of failure and loss. We are robbing or have robbed the next generation of the chance to really grow the way we want them to.
My own 20 year old son is a perfect example of this issue. He graduated high school and wanted to to find success right away. Get me to the quickest and easiest way to money dad. He started out in college and found it much more difficult especially since he did not learn the price of failure in school because the school and his parents did not allow him to fail. He quickly dropped out and has had about 6 jobs in 2 years.
He has the I want it all and I want it now mentality. Children are so use to the walls we have built around them that when failure comes and it inevitably will for all of us they do not know how to react.
There are now more young people living with their parents than in any other arrangement, according to Census Bureau. You can ask why is that. Well certainly part of it is our higher education and the ridiculous cost of a college degree that is getting ready to harm our country in a grand scale. Is it also possible that our kids are entering the workforce ill equipped to face what is ahead because we have not cut the cord on them soon enough?
I am now going to give you a harsh dose of reality. A degree that does not translate to the work force is not worth the paper it is printed on. What is even more scary is the millennial has likely payed $100,000 of dollars for that worthless degree.
We have all preached to our kids you can be whatever you can dream, in reality that is complete hogwash. The American dream allows for us to have a wide variety of options and tickets to success. However they are not all created equal and hence to a millennial they are not fair.
We are losing a generation of craftsman. We have taught our kids get a degree at all cost when we really should be saying get a degree or find a career that you can raise a family and succeed. I am going to scare the academics across the educational system, this may not include a degree.
In our school district we have removed all possible outcomes for our students that do not include college. Here is another scary thought what if the child does not want to go to college should we force them to.
Many people understand the term mother hen or helicopter parents but how many of us are willing to admit that we are one of those. If you still have school aged millennials step back just a tad from your child’s life and let them experience all the life lessons failure presents to them. Be close to them and protect them but take off the training wheels. We never really learn to ride a bike well until our parents let go and take off the wheels.
Failure is not fatal but failure to change may be. Take that advice and give your child space to fall so you can help them up and instruct the life lesson they truly need