Failure is a part of growing up. You can receive a bad grade, learn from your struggles and bounce back. But when there are expectations, entitlement is not too far behind. These expectations are instilled in children from a young age, as the “everyone wins” ideal is spread to kids everywhere and participation trophies are handed out like penny candy.
As a result, kids develop an expectation that they will never fail. However, a child that refuses to avoid entitlement and cannot embrace the prospect of failure will have a much harder time over the long haul. When kids are led to believe that they will always win, a strong sense of entitlement begins to creep in and the concept of failure becomes a foreign one.
Nowadays, a large section of students think that they are supposed to pass, just because they showed up and tried hard. If the trophies and accolades don’t start pouring in, they look for someone to complain to, someone to rectify the grave injustice that was done to them.
Most troubling of all, the entitlement erodes a child’s confidence, which in turn leads to depression and anxiety. Students arrive at universities accustomed to being the big fish in a small pond and when they are confronted with the reality of being a little fish in a big pond, it can be too much to bear.
Classrooms and extracurricular activities need to serve as areas where children can learn how to fail. Being okay with failure allows us to learn more and handle constructive criticism. It helps us to understand our own strengths and weaknesses, so that we can grow as a person. Knowing how to fit into the larger whole teaches us how to win in life and is much more crucial than any grade a person receives.
Instead, students are led to believe that their comfort is most important and that uncomfortable conversations are meant to be avoided at all costs. This attitude leads to a world filled with adults who are thin skinned and cannot work towards solutions for common problems.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to pursue a higher education need to realize that it is a right, not a privilege. If you’re fortunate enough to attend college, you need to avoid entitlement and embrace failure. Failure is perfectly okay and it serves a number of valuable purposes: teaching kids resilience, confidence and how to fit in as a part of collective society.
Better People. Better Players.