How do you bring up a child who is ready for the 21st century workforce that looks at growth and potential instead of grades and achievements?
Many say it’s through sending them for as many enrichment opportunities as possible.
While there’s truth in that, I put forward a cheaper and more effective way.
As a child of a parent, I urge every parent to let go of your child.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this many times, but you’ve your reservations and worries:
But I don’t want anything happening to them!
But you don’t know the worries of a parent!
But they’re still young, they don’t know anything!
I’m not here to force you to cast your fears aside, but rather, to have a little faith in your child and let them fall.
Falling and picking themselves up is part of growing and maturing. This cycle of falling and picking themselves upunlocks the tiny Pandora box in them: grit.
Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist and educator at the University of Pennsylvania, explains the importance of grit in this compelling short sharing.
In fact, not falling early is dangerous for your child when they enter the workforce.
Let me share a story close to my heart to illustrate this point.
Back when I was still in primary and secondary school, I wasn’t considered a bright child in comparison to many of my peers in school. I had to beg and fight for opportunities evenfor simple in-school activities like Overseas Community Involvement Programme (OCIP) trips.
That greatly affected my self-esteem. Having to fight my way to get everything was often disappointed and always draining. I struggled through my secondary school, obtaining meagre grades. I fought through junior college for insignificant opportunities and trying to pass the examinations. I failed my applications to all the public universities. The numerous setbacks made me feel like I wouldn’t make it and that I was naturally not smart enough for reality.
However, I learnt to pick myself up after the fall. With each fall, I grew. And with each fall, the next becomes easier to overcome.
Picking up became a natural reaction to every fall. I became blind to the pain of the fall, and focused on the opportunities and hope that it delivered instead.
I am able to land a full-time job without a probation period and no job search window. My recovery period from rejections were short and I saw the opportunities instead of the struggles I would face.
Can enrichment get me the same results?
Maybe I would get a job, but I would be able to obtain this job if I was not accustomed to setbacks. I would have feared failing and I would not have been able to negotiate such a job placement.
This is the essence of grit which I want to share with all parents. The value of grit is immense and it’s powerful. It has helped me push through adversity and overcome many fears I used to have. It has helped me to see rejections as opportunities to reposition my ideas, instead of failures and incapability. It has helped me to dare to fight for a better opportunity.
Like it was for me, grit is what gets your child’s mindswhirling for creative new ways around any system and rejection.
It is what makes them see possibilities in the impossible.