I spent last Wednesday with an awesome group of young leaders from our community. The program called Youth Leadership Clarksville is a school year long, once a month look at the community for high school juniors and seniors. These are top in their class students, usually from good, supportive homes, so one would think this group was self-confident and certain of their future. I almost expected an arrogance of sorts or an idealistic approach to the years before them. At some point in the day, however, I asked them to tell me their greatest fear. Almost unanimously, the group of over thirty young people said fear of failure or fear of making a lifetime mistake is their greatest fear and something they struggle with, especially as they think about leaving high school.
My son Nate, who went through the leadership program last year, had a recent blog post where he described some of his fears. Read that post HERE. (Titled: Reflections with the Fray)
In reflection, I am honestly asking myself some questions, such as:
1. What have we as parents and a society done to encourage or promote this type of fear in our youth? Have we, for example, by giving our children everything they desire in life, kept them from realizing their own potential for success in some way? Have we not allowed them enough opportunities to experience failure so that now fear of failure is the same as fear of the unknown to them?
2. Will these fears haunt our youth into adulthood or is this something they will outgrow?
3. Should we try to help youth overcome their fear of failure, so they will be willing to take big risks and dream bigger dreams or is this fear a natural part of their discovery?
4. Is this a cultural phenomenon and so do adults share the same fears right now?
5. Is the current state of the economy contributing to these fears?
I don’t have answers necessarily, just questions.
What do you think?