Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Gift of Failure

There are some books that you just can't help talking about with everyone you meet.  The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey is one of those books.

Lahey's book is mostly common sense. But it was refreshing to hear this common sense and feel that there is justification for not doing everything for your child.

Lahey knows that she suffered from this same dilemma herself.  So her book is full of anecdotes of how she managed to overcome the need to clear every obstacle from her children's paths and allow them to fail.

As she explains, children need to fail so they can learn from that experience and grow into responsible adults.  As parents if we are helping our child so that never happens we are not doing our job.

Lahey had her own struggle in allowing this to happen. As her son went to school one day leaving his homework behind, it was all she could do to leave that homework sitting on the table - especially since she had to go to school for a meeting anyway. She received some support for her actions on social media, but one friend pointed out that if she forgot something, Lahey would help her out and bring it to her.  Yes, Lahey contended, she would. However, she cared about her son more than she did about her friend AND she has a responsibility to her son to help him become a responsible and independent adult.  And of course, when her son returned home that night he had managed to deal with the forgotten homework without too much fuss.

The Gift of Failure is a short book, but it is a worthwhile read that should get parents thinking a little about their own reasons for the type of help they provide their children.  This is a must read for parents and educators.

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