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Comfort is the Enemy of Progress

Phineus Barnum, Showman


Who likes struggle? I know I don’t. - I like ‘straightforward’ and I like ‘easy’ – who doesn’t? But the reality is – struggle grows us.

Without it we don’t stretch, we don’t reach past our comfort zones. It’s in struggle that we find solutions, build muscle and it’s where patience and perseverance are cultivated.

This term I’m chatting with a group of mums about responsibilities…which responsibilities are mum/dad’s and which are the child’s. Sometimes those areas can get muddled.

Watching children do things that are difficult, or having the patience to let them do something that we could have done at ten times the speed takes a deep breath on our part. But every time we swoop in and do it for them we rob them of that opportunity to grow.

What is your child struggling with at the moment?

  • Making their own sandwiches?

  • Tidying their own room?

  • Putting their phone away when you ask them to?

  • Remembering to take everything to school?

  • Speaking to their teacher or coach themselves about issues.

  • Doing their homework?

  • Making their own arrangements?

These things can be difficult and jumping in to help is tempting. Why?

  • In a hurry?

  • Can’t bear to see them fail?

Perseverance develops the brain, it stretches them, it grows them. It empowers them. It releases parents to go and do the other four million things on the list.

Uni lecturers and employers sometimes refer to today’s applicants as ‘teacups’ – too fragile to rise to tasks.

  • Does your child know how to handle failure?

  • Can they cope with criticism?

  • Can you watch them do something badly?

  • Can they solve issues or do you have to come up with solutions?

Sending a strong, rounded adult into the worlds starts now...

when we dare to stand back and allow them room to move forward a little.

Next time your child is pressing you to complete a task you want them to be able to do, challenge yourself to stand back. The noise of resistance is growing pain and sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to let them work through it. That leaves us free to encourage them and let them know we believe in them. Because doing it for them sends them the message that we just don’t think they can.


You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

Christopher Robin


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