Pursuit of self-worth is a fundamental human trait that drives us to seek fulfillment and happiness in life. For adults, this often manifests in the form of rational pursuit of financial and material gain, as we strive to secure a comfortable and successful future for ourselves and our loved ones. Unfortunately, this same mindset can also infiltrate the way we approach parenting and child education, with some parents viewing their children’s academic achievements as the sole measure of their worth.
This approach is not only misguided, but it can also be harmful to the well-being and development of children. When children are constantly pressured to succeed academically, they may feel that their worth as a person is tied to their grades and test scores. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, as well as a fear of failure that can inhibit their ability to take risks and try new things.
Furthermore, the focus on grades and test scores often ignores the fact that children are individuals with their own unique strengths and interests. By treating children as “score-bearing commodities,” as you put it, we risk stifling their creativity and potential to develop a variety of skills and passions.
So what can parents do to avoid falling into this trap? One key factor is the concept of “feedback.” Feedback is a crucial aspect of the learning process, as it helps children understand what they are doing well and where they need to improve. However, not all feedback is created equal.
Effective feedback should be specific, timely, and focused on the learning process rather than the end result. For example, instead of simply telling a child that their math test was a “failure,” a parent could provide feedback on specific areas where the child struggled and offer suggestions for improvement. This type of feedback helps children understand that learning is a continuous process and that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as they are willing to learn from them.
Effective feedback should also be balanced, meaning that it highlights both the child’s strengths and areas for improvement. This helps children feel valued and motivated, rather than discouraged and demotivated. Finally, feedback should be given in a positive and supportive manner, rather than a critical or punishing one. This helps children feel safe and confident in their ability to learn and grow.
In conclusion, while the pursuit of self-worth is a natural and important part of life, it’s important for parents to remember that their children are not just score-bearing commodities. By providing effective feedback that is specific, timely, balanced, and positive, parents can help their children develop a healthy sense of self-worth and a love of learning that will serve them well throughout their lives.