These weighty words of wisdom are not mine, rather, the more erudite philosophy of Voltaire and Victor Hugo.
And more recently espoused by Beth Blackwood, the new chief executive of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia.
“There is a great deal of research now that states that children need challenges and obstacles in their path to learn, to be resilient, to learn to be problem solvers or to learn they can manage their own world and make decisions for themselves,” she said.
“The more common sense approach is to allow children to fail and to learn from those failures.”
It's a fine line for parents and carers who instinctively protect and cushion children from life's difficulties. So I've always found that somewhere between a stiff upper lip and a gentle warm heart approach is best. Like a spectrum of sorts. Sometimes a child needs a firm but fair hand. Sometimes lots of love and hugs. And sometimes a “you'll be right” in that moment they've fallen over and not sure if crying or getting back up and playing is what they want to do.
Situations require all manner of approaches and not just constant smothering.
You may think me completely balmy because I believe that falling down is good. As is making mistakes, failing and not reaching set goals. Mistakes are merely learning experiences and it is our job to help correct the behaviour to instil positive future outcomes. We aren't perfect all the time so why should we expect our children to be.
Ms Blackwood, added she had seen a “marked increase” in the number of students managing depression and anxiety since she first started teaching 35 years ago.
She had also noted an increase in the proportion of parents who were over-protective and anxious for their children to succeed. “Sometimes parents are living their lives through their child, placing their expectations on their child,” she said. Childhood is a precious time and a short time and there is plenty of years in adult life to be more responsible. Guide and love, play and learn. There is no set formula but these fundamentals don't change.