Quit telling kids that they “can’t”! Let them try or else they’ll always be afraid to try or they will depend on someone else to tell them what they can do! I know these things, I’ve been there, failed and have gotten up and tried something else.
Children are often placed in a position that is established by the interests of parents, of schools, of teams, of friends and so on. They are then expected to fill that “slot” and either succeed because the one that chose them is of great premonitions or else, they fail, and they are not able to understand the concept of success and of greatness. Then that’s it! You are not expected to be good; you are allowed to be mediocre and not expected to be able to contribute. You’ve been tested and found wanting; at least in that particular endeavor/sport/class/job and on and on.
But wait a minute! Let them try twice, or three times! Or, let them quit and move on to something else. Not everyone will be the great ball player that a parent was. Then let them try another sport; or better yet, let them go on and play in band! And I’m sorry if that embarrasses you! Allow that child to mess up and go on to whatever is next. You cannot stop the creativity of that person; allow that child to be a great bike rider or a great “grease monkey” at the garage. Encourage the child to take art or shop in school. Don’t make the kid have to just be in sports. And if the only thing for that kid is to find a job then that’s ok! Make sure that the job is an experience that will lead to investigation into any other direction or area for the child.
The role that a parent, teacher, coach, friend, peer, or whatever plays in this person’s life only means that the position they hold is to give the opportunity for that kid to be a success. The boss or whoever cannot make that kid a success, they can only give them the opportunity to succeed. If “ego” gets in the way then that is not a positive but rather a block in life! And we struggle so much without having “blocks” to contend with. And the fragile adolescent needs to have opportunity and positive reinforcement rather than discouragement. This mind will not tolerate many discouragements before it gives up and takes the easy way out. Lack of recognition of success too often would lead to no attempt whatsoever; absolutely intolerable.
I’ve understood failure. And it has been failure in my own eyes or those of another. I’ve failed because I followed the “wrong” path and didn’t become the engineer or the businessman that I was expected to be. I was expected to go to college and become the person that my father and his other children hadn’t become. And of course I’ve matured enough in my 6th decade to understand what he wanted of me, and of my siblings but it still doesn’t ease completely the excruciating memory for me. I wanted to not take math and science; I wanted to be in band and in orchestra. Of course I understand that this would be a career that would most likely not lead to monetary rewards but, it is what I wanted! But I’ve been fortunate in my life that music and theater have been a large part of an avocation for me, and has provided me with many years of pleasure and success.
The child must be able to try and succeed; whatever that may mean. The memories will be of the pleasures of having tried and enjoyed rather than of not having tried and then not having memories. When asked of my regrets in my life I think of none (almost, but they are of no consequence) and only can recall of the joy of what I’ve done. I’m glad I’ve been able to do so many things and have been able to have gone to so many places and have known so many and varied friends. I am lucky to have had no one discourage me from trying and I have no regrets from having done! I almost always have looked forward to “tomorrow” and not regretted the past. How unlucky is the one who hates what he has to face every day. Please, don’t let the child become one of these!


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