Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Risk-taking and Overcoming

I read two very inspirational quotes yesterday on The Median Sib. Both were by Helen Keller. She said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure." Do we avoid danger and seek security so much that we curtail our own freedom? I believe that behavioral freedom is based on proper respect for, not fear of, possible dangers. Real and meaningful accomplishment is almost always achieved at some risk.

The other favorite quote by Helen Keller that Carol mentioned in her blog was about overcoming problems. Certainly if anyone can be considered an expert in overcoming, it is Helen Keller. She said, "Although the world is very full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." I wonder if, as a society, we are allowing our children the opportunity to learn how to overcome. Are we providing so many luxuries and privileges that they have nothing to overcome?

When I read these two quotations yesterday, they immediately jumped up on my favorite soapbox with me and demanded to be heard. In recent years our schools and the adults in our society have focused intensely on developing high "self-esteem" in our children -- often just bragging on them whether or not real accomplishment has been made and protecting them from any embarrassment, disappointment or failure. Self-esteem is gained by trying something hard (in other words taking a risk) and succeeding at it (in other words overcoming.) When we protect our children from possible failure, we deny them the opportunity to take risks and overcome dangers and hard circumstances. When we prevent the risk and overcoming, we virtually insure that their self-esteem will suffer (at least eventually.)


Jane Ann said...

Bravo, Joan. That is one of my soapboxes as well. We are raising a generation of children who do not know what it is to fail. What will they do when they enter the work force? It will be a rude awakening.

Carol said...

I am so honored to have my blog mentioned in your blog! Thank you!