Should you let your child fail? Should we not
give a first, second, third place and just give a participation ribbon to
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he
had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire
class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would
be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this
class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive
the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.
After the first test, the grades were averaged, and everyone got a
B. The students who studied hard were upset, and the students who studied
little were happy.
As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little
had studied even less, and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a
free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No
one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. The scores
never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard
feelings, and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
All failed, to
their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would
also ultimately fail, because when the reward is great, the effort to
succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one
will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that.
So I believe in giving grades in school instead of everyone getting a
passing. Yes some kids will not make first place in a sport but we learn to
get over defeat. Look how many times Edison failed to make the light bulb
before succeeding. Michael Jordan was cut from
his high school basketball team. Jordan once observed, "I've failed over and
over again in my life. That is why I succeed." For many examples of famous
people who failed first: see:
Also many of the things we learn growing up we learned in the school of
hard knocks. Your parents did not teach you how to handle the bully on the
playground or the guy who hit on you at your job. We parents cannot teach
our children everything and we are not responsible for everything. We are
the most important influence for making our children turn out to be good,
kind, and honest human beings. When your children get upset over failures
it hurts us more than it hurts them. When we protect our children from
these heart breaking events, it seems we are protecting us more than our
children from these hurting feelings. I now realize what heart aches my
parents went through while raising me!
Roger Knapp MD
about those that did not finish college?
producer, director, screenwriter, animator, developer of Disneyland. Winner
of 26 Oscars and 7 Emmy awards. While attending McKinley High School, he
also took night classes at the Chicago Art Institute. He dropped out of high
school at the age of 16 to join the army. Rejected because he was underaged,
he joined the Red Cross and was sent to war in Europe. Upon his return from
war, he began his artistic career.