It’s safe to say that all parents want their children to succeed. In our increasingly competitive culture, parents’ fixation on their children’s success is growing stronger. However, the desire for children to succeed comes at a cost.
We’re living in a time when children are experiencing more stress, anxiety and pressure than ever before. Children are learning to equate their self-worth with achievement and developing a deep fear of failure (and even trying). This pressure to succeed is often overwhelming. So it’s more important than ever before to empower children by teaching them that failure is okay, through enhancing their self-acceptance and self-compassion.
I recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring awareness to a book I’ve written to address this very topic. Written for children aged 4-8, Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands is a modern day picture book about one girl’s rise from failure. It offers the message that just because we have a failure, it doesn’t mean that we are a failure. It’s critical that children learn not to determine their self worth based on their accomplishments alone.
As adults, we have the power to nurture children’s growth. We can start by teaching kids that it’s okay to fail. By learning how to accept and learn from failure, they’ll be better equipped to achieve the success and happiness we so want for them in the first place.
My sense has always been that if I had known some of what I know now, at a younger age, life could have been easier. Perhaps I would have been a little less afraid to fail, and a little more resilient when I did. Our thought patterns strengthen as we age, so let’s support children to create a healthy framework from the start. This was my goal in creating Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands.
That children will be loved regardless of what they can or cannot do is a message I want my nieces and nephews to know, one that I want your kids and your friends kids to know. My hope is to inspire you as you inspire the children in your life.
Tamara Levitt is a writer, artist, teacher and founder of Begin Within Productions. At her company Begin Within, she creates and produces multimedia entertainment content designed to foster self-awareness, emotional intelligence and interpersonal development.