I am absolutely obsessed with Jessica Lahey‘s new book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. I am only half way through and I’ve decided this is a must read for all big humans who love and/or work with small humans. She knocks it immediately out of the park in her first paragraph:
“today’s overprotective, failure-avoidant parenting styles has undermined the competence, independence and academic potential of an entire generation.” p.xi
She goes on to talk about her own realizations as a parent and teacher and how she feels as if she was doing them a dis-service by promoting success and preventing failure. It is through her own stories that she takes the blame off of parents and teachers who have promoted a success-driven environment.
What I love the most about this book, so far, is her focus on the work of Carol Dweck and Edward Deci. She validates my views as a teacher-leader in my beliefs about growth mindset and Self-Determination Theory. When we provide opportunities for our children to struggle and/or fail, we are providing the greatest possibility for them to grow into resilient, competent adults. She also validates my belief in encouraging intrinsic motivation. Sticker charts, money for grades, or any form of food motivation do not equate to student success. I’m look at you, Class Dojo. (So much research on this, I don’t even know where to begin.)
I’m about to delve into Part II and III and can’t wait to share more…stop everything you’re doing and go get this book!