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Has a parent ever challenged you to be more resilient against harsh blows that life gives you daily?

If so, were you grateful for the encouragement? Or did it go too far?
Has a parent, a teacher, a coach or some other caring adult ever pushed you to try something new? To persevere through a difficult situation? To do something that you thought you couldn’t do?
If so, were you grateful for the prompting in the end? Or did you think it went too far?
In “I Was Trying to Build My Son’s Resilience, Not Scar Him for Life,” Erik Vance writes about one such situation with his own son:
When my wife and I took our 7-year-old son to climb a 900-foot piece of rock near our home in Colorado, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
We’d done a 600-foot climb the previous year, and he had loved it. This one, called the “Standard Route,” up the Third Flatiron in Boulder, was marginally tougher — shaped like a steep, rocky slide that’s attached to a skyscraper.
Yes, he told my wife the night before, and again that morning, that he was too scared to do it. She worried that we were pushing him, but I insisted we go ahead. And the kid seemed confident once we all got to the foot of the route.
Alas, it did not go well. The angle was a little too steep and the whole thing took about two hours longer than I’d planned. A cloud of bugs at the top was almost intolerable and the rappel off the back involved an uncomfortable mess of limbs and ropes pinning my son against the rock.
“This is the worst day of my life!” he screamed at one particularly hard moment.
It wasn’t our first Daddy-inspired mishap, and I can’t see it being our last. I was raised to believe that challenging a child is a good thing — my father always called it “building character.”
But where is the line between being scarred for life and sufficiently scuffed up to build resilience? It’s a choice parents weigh every day — when to cuddle them if they scrape their knee, and when to give a dose of hardship so that they become tough enough to take on the road ahead.
My students, read the entire essay and then tell me:
What is your reaction to Mr. Vance’s story? What, if anything, do you think he could have done differently as a parent?
Have you ever had an experience similar to the one Mr. Vance described, when a caring adult pushed you for the sake of building resilience or grit? What happened? Looking back on the experience now, are you grateful for it, or did it scar you? What, if anything, do you wish had gone differently?
Mr. Vance said he was raised to believe that “challenging a child is a good thing.” Do you agree with that sentiment? Is it helpful and important for parents to challenge their children? Why or why not?
How resilient would you say you are? In other words, how well are you able to recover and move on from adverse events, failures or changes happening in your life? What has helped — or could help — you develop that skill and putting that skill to advantage? What advice would you give to parents, and other adults who have children in their lives, to help children build their resilience? What advice would you give to kids?

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