The Fear of Failure


I was speaking to a friend yesterday with 5 kids, all at various private schools.  She said they are all behind in different ways.
All behind!  Or should I say  all “behind“?
She sounded quite stressed and I know she spends a lot of time worrying about their education.

I tease her about homeschooling her children and yesterday she said, maybe I had it right.


What sort of childhood is it being pressured to satisfy  someone else’s idea of who you should be, where you should be focusing your time and energies?

Whenever would you get enough time to be yourself?  To follow your own ideas, chase your own dreams??

I have found I have had to let go of any expectation for young children to even contemplate academic subjects.  Or perhaps subjects from an academic perspective.
Children are full of poetry, but why make them write it down?
They constantly dice with scientific laws, but who cares what they think they are just playing a game?
Maths?  It is everywhere – except written down in a book.

Then as they grow, and sadly stop the imaginative play, they seem to take more of an interest in the wider world, it becomes more real to them.
At some stage they begin to contemplate their place in the world and what this means to them. What contribution they may make.

This is when they may choose to put names to the science they have practiced for years.
This is when they may want to record their ideas on paper – or more likely digitally.

Surely it is impossible to fail at your childhood?  As long as you are happy, get to play, eat, sleep, are loved and safe.  There is no way to be ” behind”.  We each of us dance to the beat of our own drum anyway.  Young children more than ever – as long as we  allow them to.

Plenty of people are “behind” the norm – starting a new career at 50, becoming a writer after they retire.  Let’s not restrict children’s growth and development by  placing stifling and unrealistic requirements around them.

The homeschooling world is full of heartening stories of “late” readers (10 and 11 yr olds), success stories of young adult unschoolers with their own passion fueled businesses.

Do we despair when our child reads at 3 years old instead of the required 5yrs?  Of course not,we celebrate there individuality!   Do we ridicule  a 40 year old going to university for the first time? Are they considered behind too?

I have said it before and will say it again – let the children play.
For play is their life’s work.

Imagination is more important than knowledge,
for it encircles the world – Einstein


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