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Are Kids Able to Handle Failure Today?

Madison Overhead.jpg

You’re right. I see it, too: So many children these days just aren’t willing to fail. And you aren’t the only one asking why. We have both seen it rob our kids of so much growth. My theory is that they just need more practice.

Kids are pretty savvy these days. I’m noticing that they think about the social impact of their actions, words and reputations more than I did because social consequences strike so much more swiftly as technology advances.

When I was a kid, I could fall off of my bike 100 times before I decided to ride over to a friend’s house and show off. And I pulled all sorts creative or funny stunts without thinking about the 10,000 videos my friends had access to that were cooler, funnier and more impressive. Sure, success is more wildly validated with a viral video, but each mistake along the way comes at a much greater risk—and the risk of semi-permanent humiliation is very rarely worth the reward. Kids are smart.

But smart doesn’t mean they don’t need our help. As they dwell on these social ramifications, they start to take on labels about some weakness or defect they carry that simply aren’t true. And with as little life as they’ve lived, it’s just so easy for them to be convinced that these labels are permanent. So why try? It’s simply not worth it.

Well, I think we should FIGHT it—not for them, but with them. We aren’t getting rid of the source problem any time soon, so let’s strengthen these kids to withstand it! 

You can’t fight this on your own, and I certainly can’t do it with a couple hours of class each week, so we gotta be in this together. Here is my promise:

Forest City CrossFit’s Youth Athletics Program will always be a place where your kids are intentionally challenged to see their value independent of their success. There will be challenges to overcome and risks to take, and I will ask them to make tough decisions. I will put your kids in places where they are uncomfortable—and then sore—but also in places where they see the results of their hard work. I will not try to save them from failure, but I will ask them to practice their failures in a safe environment, learning from their mistakes and gaining confidence. I will be intentional about teaching them how to lose, how to face unmet expectations, and how to fail WELL.

‘Cause you are right, it’s a problem. So let’s kick its tail!