Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Our Fear of Failure

The babe has recently started Bollywood/Indian folk dance classes.  The first class was a mega hit.  We wrote a check and committed to driving her to class every Sunday morning until the end of May.  Then a funny thing happened.  The babe didn't want to go. 

After much drama and discussion, we got her out the door and into the car.  And you know what the problem was?  She was afraid of not being good at it.  She was so afraid, she only participated in half the class.  You see, the babe is so competitive, she's scared she won't be able to perform the moves and won't be able to keep up with other kids.  It is unfortunate that we signed her up after the session had already started (which put her at a disadvantage), but I really thought she'd jump right into things with gusto.  I forgot how quickly perspective can change in the world of a five-year-old.

The experience serves as a reminder that my husband and I have to help her through her issues with competition, her fear of failure and her apparent desire for perfection.  While there are benefits to being competitive and aiming for perfection, we are concerned that she will stop trying new things if she can't master them immediately.  My husband and I both had childhoods where we were afraid to fail and actually avoided tackling new interests if we thought there was a chance we wouldn't succeed.  That said, I suppose she comes by these issues quite naturally.

I am glad we've identified this streak in the babe but it is hard to see these issues arise at such a tender age.  I want her to believe that she can try anything she puts her mind to and to confront these feelings and not allow them to control her.  We have had numerous discussions over the past few days about the importance of practice and have shared stories of our own struggles.  Hopefully things will go a bit more smoothly next week, but regardless, I am oddly grateful we are being confronted with this before she starts elementary school in the fall.

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