The theory is simple: kids need to understand their responsibilities are their own. They need enough freedom that mistakes and stumbles are a possibility. They need the latitude to screw up, even screw up royally, on endeavors significant and rigorous enough that they’re invested and trying hard, but not so significant that they’re eviscerated if they fall short. They should be confident enough to think that with the right effort they might succeed, but not so cocksure they assume they will. The possibility of failure must be real: failure can be, should be, instructive, even inspiring. And if it happens, it happens. The sun will rise again tomorrow. They should learn to fail and not think themselves – or be judged by others – failures.
You Are Not Special: … And Other Encouragements
David McCullough, Jr.