No rescue permitted!

Wanda M. Holland Greene recently posted the following to the NAIS Independent School Magazine blog

Wanda M. Holland Greene is head of school at The Hamlin School (California), serving 400 girls in grades K8. She is also a member of the NAIS board of trustees.

Raising our children can often feel like groping in the dark, but some simple truths are as clear as the light of a California day: Children forget. Children fail. Children fret. Children fall down. Simply put, children mess up, sometimes in grand style, and it is absolutely painful for parents to watch the consequences unfold.


As the mother of two young sons, I can say with certainty that allowing our children to experience disappointment, frustration, and sadness is very hard. Never mind that we have read 100 times that mistakes are the building blocks of learning, that we should use the word “yet” to ensure a growth mindset, and that acknowledging strong effort is far more important than praising outcomes. (Thank you, Carol Dweck.)

Never mind that we have the “The Lesson of the Butterfly” pinned on our bulletin boards and bookmarked on our computers to remind us that the butterfly’s struggle to squeeze out of the tiny hole was nature’s way of strengthening its wings. (Thank you, Paulo Coelho.)

Even though we know progress isn’t possible without struggle (thank you, Frederick Douglass), we quickly don our firefighter gear, grab a pick-ax and a hose, and run to the rescue as soon as we smell the smoke of impending failure.

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Cannon School is a JrK – Grade 12 Independent School in Concord, NC