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Episode 59: Scott Schimmel on Every Kid Needs a Struggle

My struggle is what shaped me. That’s a timeless truth for me, and I’m sure it is true in your life, too. And it’s also true for our kids. So if struggling is so formative, then why do we protect our kids from it? On one hand, I get it. We want to protect them from harm, prevent them from feeling bad about themselves and provide the best context for them to feel loved and supported. But on the other hand, kids cannot and will not grow into who we want them to be without going through a struggle. It’s fact. Struggling is not suffering but can be confusing and perhaps a slippery slope. Struggling is what helps us become aware of and understand our limitations. It humbles us. Struggling will refine and clarify what’s really important. Confronting our struggles can shape how we see ourselves and our capabilities. It can strengthen our resolve and help us find the fuel that turns into passion. Struggling changes us and makes us better. I’m not the first to observe that kids today are being raised in a culture that is predisposed to removing obstacles from kids. Many of them are good, appropriate, and just. But perhaps we have a “baby with the bathwater” situation, too, that should prompt us to reflect on the opportunities we have to allow our kids to struggle more than we feel comfortable with. What struggles have you faced that shaped you for the better? What might keep you from allowing your kids to struggle? What’s at stake? What lessons might your kid(s) miss out on if they don’t struggle?

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For years we’ve been studying what a young person needs in order to transition into a healthy, thriving adulthood.  

They're uncommon sense ideas, really.

Download this checklist and use it with your students (or kids).

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