- Published: Wednesday, 24 September 2003 10:05
I found this article, YOU HAVEN’T ‘FAILED’ – YOU’VE ‘NEARLY PASSED’ and it upsets me.
In the US, we’re already three-quarters of the way there with being self-esteem centric in our schools and scoreless sports. The self-esteem being taught in our schools today is a false one, because it avoids failure. This is the absolutely worst thing you can do to a child. School is supposed to teach children to handle life. Sacrificing the truth about weather or not they succeed on a test or project does nothing but set them up to fail when they get out into the real world.
Out in the real world of having a job, you have very clear pass/fail standards. If you don’t consistently pass, you lose your job. The people who graduate from high school and realize that the school had stupidly easy standards feel let down because the school failed on it’s basic premise.
Making things easy and not really grading also teaches children not to try. When they realize that they pass without putting any effort into a project, they stop putting effort into anything important.
Feeling good and getting a self-esteem boost when you win is easy. You just pick on someone weaker than yourself. Earning self-esteem is when you pick on someone bigger or better and winning.
Sometimes failure is the best way to teach self-esteem. No matter where you go in life, no matter what you do, someone will always be better than you. When you are defeated, you have to ask yourself, “Did I do the absolute best I could?” If you did, then you have nothing to be ashamed of. You take that and everything you learned and make yourself better than you were before. Then go out and try again. That is the American way.
Small business owners frequently fail in their first several business attempts. NASCAR can only have one winner out of 30 or so cars racing. Even the best professional baseball players only get a hit 1 out of every 3 at bats. None of these guys give up, they keep plugging at it until they win. Or should we let them “win” first time, every time?
In MechWarrior:Dark Age, the wargame that I play, there are two prizes handed out at a sanctioned tournament. First is Champion, for the guy who had the best record of the night. The other prize is Fellowship. This goes to the player who was the best sport. This is typified by who helped out less experienced opponents, who didn’t lose their cool when getting the stuffing knocked out of them by a superior player and so on. The Fellowship prize helps foster a positive attitude among all of the players. Sometimes, not very often, the Fellowship prize is actually better than the Champion prize. That really makes things interesting.
We are doing irreparable harm to our children when we feed their self-esteem this way. We teach them to take the easy path that goes nowhere instead of the difficult path that leads to the stars. Please don’t do this to your kids.