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Keep on Trying

It’s hard to know why some children seem naturally inclined to keep on trying to do something until they succeed and why others seem so ready to give up. It’s possible that some are born more one way than the other; but, even if that’s true, I don’t think it’s the only answer. It seems to me that feeling frustrated and discouraged is something that none of us can avoid, and that our different ways of coping with those feelings are among the many things we learn.

If, as little children, we are faced with tasks that are far beyond our capabilities, we may come to feel that trying is useless because it never works. On the other hand, if we are encouraged to work at small tasks that we can accomplish with a little effort, we may, very early in our lives, experience the pleasure and gratification that come with achievement and success. We may then grow up knowing that the trying always comes first but that it’s worthwhile because trying is a path that can take us to where we want to go.

… In other words, the pleasure and pride a parent shows when a child tries may be more helpful in the long run than parental expressions of pleasure and pride when a child succeeds.

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