Now I am not the type of person that puts inspirational quotes up around my office but as an educator, ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’ resonates loud and clear to me. But what if the whole village was lowering the bar to such an extent, that your village was not living up to its expectations? Well, it would be fair to say you might have some thinking to do.
This all seems a little dramatic, but if the lowering or smothering of standards puts at risk the development of resilient kids, then we all need to sit down and evaluate the environment we are creating, through our interference. Where the perfect storm is being created here, is via some of our school, sporting and community organisations. Rules such as no ball games at school, no scoring, everyone gets an award, no clapping at assemblies, no running on the grass etc. This all seems crazy to me. This is not a helicopter approach, but a bulldozer approach where everything is smoothed over so much, that there is not a hurdle or bump in sight. That can’t be good for our kids.
‘Although it’s natural for us to want to protect our children from negative experiences, it’s important not to shield them completely from life’s challenges. ‘(Beyond Blue)
Schools have an important role to play in this space and it doesn’t require extra work. If all the research points to resilience as a vital human character trait, then schools need to stand strongly in this space. Teachers as experts, use newsletters, assemblies and any other public forum to display their expert knowledge about teaching and learning. Your expertise is needed because sometimes we need to be the change we want to see in our community. Kids become more resilient if we teach them to think independently, manage their emotions, deal with and manage conflict and communicate clearly.
If working through difficulties, challenges and problems – with village support – gives kids a chance to learn about themselves, develop resilience, and grow as a person, then let’s get that message out there loud and clear. Real Schools will be there every step of the way. That is a ‘no bulldozer’ guarantee!