“Trust the children.”
“Dr. Thompson, make sure they trust the children.”
“Suzy, trust the children.”
“Mommy, do you trust me?”
From an educational psychologist’s perspective, I know without a reasonable doubt that children can be trusted to learn. They are hard-wired to learn, to be curious, to make sense of their worlds, and are so much more resilient to failure they most adults realize. Children are ready to explore, excited to try something new, and embrace opportunities to grow. This God-given curiosity resides in every child, until we fear it out of them.
“Don’t touch that! It’s breakable! You could get hurt! Let me do that for you. You’re not old enough. You’re not ready to learn that. You’re not……capable.”
Why do we parent our children by telling them what they are not capable of? Because, we are being selfish. We are afraid of watching them fail. It hurts our hearts more than it hurts theirs. Children don’t realize that failure is a “bad thing” until we teach them that. Have you ever thought about that fact? And, in reality, is failure actually bad? Don’t we learn most when we fail? Isn’t failure just another opportunity to grow?
What if, instead of telling the kids what they can’t do, we tell the kids what they can do? What if we threw-out the plastic kid plates and let them use our pottery? What if we trusted them to carry something breakable? What if we encouraged them to try instead of being afraid of trying? What if we even encouraged them to fail? What if we encouraged them to feel failure and then learn how to dust themselves off, and fail forward by trying again and again until they succeed? What would happen then?
Well, other then a possible handful of messes you may have to clean up, our kids would feel real confidence. Their childlike faith, wonder, and curiosity would stay ignited and thrive. They would learn to default to failing forward instead of failing and giving up on their dreams. Our children would embrace mental, emotional, and physical challenges and learn how to scale the brick walls in life that try to halt our progress toward lifetime goals. We would be parenting our children toward grit, perseverance, resiliency, and confidence that cannot be taught any other way then personal experience. We would be calling out the Masterpieces and heroes in our children.
We may even learn how to get out from behind the “shield of fear” that we may be carrying around regarding failure. Maybe we will begin to care more about what God thinks about us using or not using the gifts He gave us more than what our peers think about our gifts. Maybe we will even begin to embrace our own callings and have the courage to become heroes ourselves.
I don’t want to rear-up a snowflake kid. I want to rear-up children that inspire the snowflake kids to kick fear in the rear and find their inner strength to become resilient themselves. I want my children to flourish. I want my children to look fear in the eye and laugh at it. I want my children’s identity in Christ to be strong, their failures to catapult them into a deeper passion for success, and for them to feel confident. Not an arrogant confidence, but the deep seated quiet confidence that can only come from personal experience and the Holy Spirit.
So, I’m all in. I’m going to live the Acton Academy Salado lifestyle at school and at home. Trusting the children. With a deep breath and a big sigh, I’m in. It works. I’m no longer going to be selfish and not want to see my children hurt. I want to see my children succeed, and I want my children to be leaders and successes in life in every arena life offers to them. I want my children to only know how to fail forward.
**Please set good guardrails for your children if you choose to join this child-enriching movement. For example, I will let my children help me cook, use our dishes, and do a number of things. But, they are still very small, so no electricity or fire or driving my car….at least, not this year. #Actonacademysalado #TrustTheChildren #EquippingHeroes