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Advice For A Ten Year Old

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By the time I was ten years old, my parents had instilled in me the notion that failing in school or other efforts was unacceptable. I could either be perfect or a failure, but there was no in-between. I strove to be the ideal daughter who didn't make messes, didn't get bad grades, but didn't have fun.

My advice to a ten-year-old would be that it is alright to make mistakes in life. If you are taught to be afraid of failure, it will prevent you from trying to achieve something that seems difficult. There should be delight in learning new skills, new concepts, new behaviors, especially when one is ten years old and the whole world is full of opportunities.

Further, some of life's best lessons are learned from one's failures. I remember being ten years old when I experienced my first big competitive event on my jump rope team. I was with my sister and best friend and we had prepared for weeks for this event. In spite of perfect practices, we were humiliated by our poor performance and ran off the floor yelling at each other and crying. I never wanted to jump rope again! My parents chased after us to console us, but also to insist that we finish the competition. I felt like a failure, but in retrospect it was a good lesson in accepting disappointment. I was inspired to practice even more for the next competition, and eventually went on to win a world championship.

A ten year old should be allowed to enjoy childhood while striving to do their best. As Colin Powell said, "Success is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."



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