Jessica Lahey’s ‘The Gift of Failure’: A Fear of Risk-Taking Has Destroyed Kids’ Love of Learning
I’ve known the mother sitting in front of me at this parent-teacher conference for years, and we have been through a lot together. I have taught three of her children, and I like to think we’ve even become friends during our time together. She’s a conscientious mother who obviously loves her children with all of her heart. “Marianna’s grades are fine; I’m not worried about that, but she just doesn’t seem to love learning anymore.” She’s absolutely right. The truth—for this parent and so many others—is this: Her child has sacrificed her natural curiosity and love of learning at the altar of achievement, and it’s our fault. I look at this mother with concern on her face, her eager pencil poised to write down my words of wisdom. This mother’s hovering comes from a place of love—that’s clear. Marianna is very smart and high-achieving, and her mother reminds her of that on a daily basis. I know this mom because she’s just like me.
Related: Voices for Justice