Watching my kids practice a new skill can be heart-wrenching. The sense of urgency I get to help them become physical, like bees humming inside my body.
Sometimes, I swoop in and rescue them when there is threat of physical harm.
And then, sometimes I don’t.
Character Comes from Struggle
Character is kind of a hot button word in the homeschool world. Most homeschoolers I know, including myself, reference character as a reason we choose to homeschool.
I want my kids to do good audaciously. To tirelessly pursue justice and knowledge.
And that’s why I let them struggle.
First, we must struggle against ourselves. When we give our kids the chance to struggle against themselves, we open them up to learn self-control.
I struggle against myself daily. There’s always that negative little temptation in the back of my mind saying “Skip chores for today.”
I know that the same temptation will be there tomorrow and to give in will quickly become a habit. One that severely impacts the quality of my life.
We must teach them that internal struggle will always be there.
Second, struggle is an integral part of learning. Conquering challenges is how one gains skill.
Struggling is the only way we can find our limits. And the only way we can learn how to seek the guidance of others to exceed those limits.
Third, excellence comes from the intersection of my two previous points. Those who achieve admirable skill in anything are the same ones that learned to win the exhausting struggle against their own instinct to do less than their best and those who can learn their way through a setback.
The Goals of Struggle are Confidence and Self Motivation
One day, my children will not fall under my influence like they once did. They will be open to manipulation, subversive advertising, and whatnot. I want to know they will be able to recognize that and choose to do the right thing tirelessly.
But in order for them to choose the right thing on their own, the motivation must come from within themselves.
Struggle Nurtures Self-Motivation
On one hand, I may ignore the fact that my young teen doesn’t put his clean clothes away. I am not responsible for his clean clothes. I am not going to stress over his clean clothes. He is more than capable of putting them away.
When I leave him to choose whether he puts them away, he has the opportunity to learn from his mistakes. To experience the frustration of not having clean clothes because he refused to do a simple chore.
I want my kids to develop a growth midset so that they understand the value of struggle and of learning a new skill.
Struggle Breeds Confidence
Struggle gives us a chance to show ourselves we are capable of great things. It helps us find our limits and exceed them.
It also helps teach us that the best work comes from a bit of effort, consistently over a long period of time. It shows us that it’s ok not to be great at everything at first.
It teaches us to trust in our own abilities, and where to find help when we don’t know the next step to take.
Do you see the value of letting kids struggle? Comment below!
Hi! I am Ali, a homeschool mom who is passionate about science, managing my money and time well. Unfortunately, with an army of tiny faces, I am always still kind of a mess.
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