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My friend, Ali, sent me this great parenting article from The Atlantic:

I am often tempted to save my kids from the pain and consequences of their actions. It’s hard for me to make my son hand over his allowance money to repair the drawer he broke during a temper tantrum. I hate seeing the look on my daughter’s face when her siblings get in the swimming pool without her because she chose to procrastinate on her homework. 

I was grateful for this author’s illustrations of why exposure to failure and struggle is so important to my kids’ development.


2 responses »

  1. Interesting article–how did I miss it?? At some point as I read it, it occurred to me that sometimes we allow caricatures stand in for ideas that are far more nuanced. The competition issue for example… There is the ridiculous notion of pretending that soccer or whatever sport/game is at hand is not essentially a competition that someone will win and someone will lose by some margin. (There is also the silly idea that engineering a swing from from a “We’re losers!” to a “We rock!” mentality is some sort of victory when the kids still have zero perspective on the role of a pee wee soccer game in determining a person’s worth…) But there is an companion phenomenon: injecting a spirit of competition into aspects of life where it has no rightful bearing–learning, for example, or art, if you ask me. Admitting you “suck at math,” (besides needlessly calling Michelle Rhee to mind) might represent some sort of enlightened epiphany, but it also might represent a excuse for closing yourself off from a whole approach to making sense of the world based on a more or less conscious competition with a population that may or may not actually be relevant. In allowing the trophy-for-all farce to become the poster child for our society’s problems with competition, we’re ignoring the complexity of the issue, as well as the wisdom we could gain from grappling with it.


    • I love the “trophy-for-all farce.” Did you coin that phrase? I think you have some incredibly valuable things to say on this topic. Have you considered writing your own article? You certainly have the professional experience to back up your theories!


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