Monday, 8 August 2016

A Bit of Struggle is a Good Thing

I have been talking to the children about the importance of having some ‘struggle’ in our lives.
I know it is a bit of a cliché but ‘no pain, no gain’. As you know this applies to all of us.

I told them the following story I heard many years ago. I don’t know whether it is true but it hopefully helped illustrate my message.

“A little boy came upon a butterfly struggling to emerge from a chrysalis. He helped it by gently pulling the chrysalis apart. When the butterfly tried to fly, it fell to the ground and died. The strength it needed to develop to emerge from the chrysalis was the same strength it needed to fly. The boy trying to help had inadvertently made the butterfly helpless.  Sometimes we need to struggle to build up our strength to grow and develop so we can cope with what life will throw at us.”

This concept of ‘struggle’ is going to be a bit of a theme this term at Waterloo. It ties in so well with one of our key values---resilience. We are encouraging the children not to give up easily when they come across a challenge at school or in any aspect of their life but to try and overcome it themselves. These challenges will come in many forms from school work to relationship issues. There is no shame in asking for help after giving the challenge a fair go and we are encouraging the children to ask for help once they are ‘stumped’.

In our desire to be good parents and/or teachers we can step in too much and prop up children and create ‘learned helplessness’. We have to allow our children to make mistakes because from these mistakes comes a learning opportunity.

Life can be tough and if we help our children to help themselves, then we are doing them a big favour. The hard thing is to know when to step in and when to insist on more effort. Praise is so important too! Praise for trying and doing one’s personal best. It is destructive to praise mediocrity.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice inside your head that says, I’ll try again tomorrow.” (MA Radmacher)

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