Adversity and Evaluation

Are we really preparing the future of our country to succeed globally?  Of course as parents, coaches, teachers and the like, we all want the best for our children, students, and athletes.  This is not debated.  What is up for debate is the approach to achieving long-term success as the children become adults and future community members and leaders of our world.  Is our overall approach working in the U.S.?  By wanting the best at all times for our children/students, we may be protecting them from the two critical components they really need to learn, improve, and succeed.  What are these two critical components of success?  The first component that children must face every day is adversity.  Rather than shielding them from it, we must embrace it.  Only by being challenged to grow will the child learn-this can be in school, on the field, or in life.  The parent who keeps trying to prevent that from happening is actually hurting their child’s chances of growing mentally and emotionally.  The second critical component is the evaluation process that occurs right after the adversity is encountered.  The student and athlete who examines what they did, how they reacted, what they need to do in the future, and acts upon it, will learn, grow, and improve at a much faster rate than the child who is skipping the evaluation process.  For example, the tennis player who loses in the first round of a tournament and immediately starts the evaluation process by looking at how they trained leading up to the competition and how they performed during the competition, will be more likely to make the appropriate corrections.  If you don’t challenge yourself and evaluate the process and results, you are not going to make dramatic improvements.  The dangerous athlete is the one who keeps looking at himself and experimenting with adversity to improve.  As parents and coaches, we must understand that the best way to help our children succeed in all walks of life as adults is to let them fail, evaluate the failure, learn from it, and change direction to get closer to the intended target.  It is like a missile: at the beginning the missile is swinging side to side and as it gets closer to its intended target, it goes straight to the target.

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