With the joy of Easter, comes the joy of new life: buds on trees, flowers in bloom, birds nesting, and the increased sounds of neighbors mowing the grass. Spring is aptly named from Old English; the word springan means “to leap, burst forth, fly up; spread, grow." Sometimes we may find ourselves springing into action, but all too often, I think we are reluctant to do anything because of a fear of failure.
When attempting something new or different, we cannot be afraid to make mistakes. How better to learn? Somehow this seems lost on today’s children. Springtime of the past meant longer hours playing outside, which in turn, meant many more skinned knees from daring some kind of gravity defying acrobatics. But, were we really that much more daring then?
Today’s world does not allow for us to make mistakes and our children know that. Our errors, gaffes, and blunders all seem terribly magnified with social media. Every misstep has the potential to follow us for years. Children are unwilling to try because if it is not perceived as perfect the first time, they think that they are failures and do not want to figure it out. So how do we teach confidence and self assurance if students are unwilling to take any risks? We teach them it is normal to have faults and weaknesses by letting them see our own struggles and mistakes. Let them see adults working things out; let them see others make a mistake and then go on from there.
The book The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, opens with the quote, “Prepare your child for the road, not the road for your child.” We must encourage our students to take safe risks. At SAS they are encouraged to participate in public speaking at weekly mass, earn speaking parts in school productions, present in front of adult audiences, and more. They take on partnerships with younger students, and they are allowed to interact with senior citizens. Intrapersonal interactions with all types of people and experiences let our children know they are part of a larger world, a world that can only get better when people see potential and are willing to work for it.
Every adult and every child has a talent and an ability to contribute to the good of the broader life around them. We only hope we are all daring enough to take the risk and realize the potential of our abilities.
May we always be willing to spring into action for a good cause!