Home truths.Byline: By Abbie Wightwick
You can't help feeling a bit sorry for Prince Charles Noun 1. Prince Charles - the eldest son of Elizabeth II and heir to the English throne (born in 1948)
Imagine if every ill-considered thought you ever made was bandied about in public. All those off the cuff comments on life, death and the universe would suddenly come back to haunt you in all their stupidity.
Not that I know for sure that Charles's email at the Palace was ill-considered. Perhaps he really meant it. But it did seem a bit ropy rop·y also rop·ey
adj. rop·i·er, rop·i·est
1. Resembling a rope or ropes.
2. Forming sticky glutinous strings or threads, as some liquids. , as emails often do. Email is the perfect medium in which to be misunderstood, flippant flip·pant
1. Marked by disrespectful levity or casualness; pert.
2. Archaic Talkative; voluble.
[Probably from flip. , glib and off-hand.
And certainly his seemed a questionable message. "What is it that makes everyone seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities? It is a consequence of a child-centred system which admits no failure and tells people they can all be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities."
Well, let's start with the child-centred bit. As he was talking about education, it seems strange that he should object to it being focused on the child. Next, the bit about failure. It seems he meant that "the system" was never keen to admit that a young person, or the system itself, had "failed."
Anyone who has been near a school recently might have noticed that tests and exams are still alive and well and being passed and failed as always.
Accepting that failure might or has occurred, is, as he suggests, an important life lesson.
But it has to be treated with care. Adults can set children up to fail. Some do so intentionally, some without meaning to.
It is also frighteningly easy to paralyse par·a·lyse
v. Chiefly British
Variant of paralyze.
paralyse or US -lyze
[-lysing, -lysed] or -lyzing, people with fear of failure. It's a bit like rock climbing rock climbing Sports medicine An 'extreme sport' in which the participant climbs rock formations, with or without ropes Injury risk Fractures, abrasions, death. See Extreme sports. if you aren't keen on heights. The minute you look down, you're lost. Even the strongest people can get nervous about taking on something that they know carries a real risk of failure.
Never trying means never having to fail. Circumstance can kill confidence. Poverty, abuse and poor education are among the culprits. Lucky for the Prince that he has suffered none of these. Indeed, he feels he has the capability to wax lyrical on everything from architecture to education.
It is important for children and teenagers to experience and learn to cope with failure. Not succeeding is something we all have to face sometimes. But dealing with failure is best approached gently ( the odd bad spelling test, being trounced at football and not getting cast as the lead in the school play will do for starters.
Then you can move on to re-taking maths GCSE GCSE
1. (in Britain) General Certificate of Secondary Education; an examination in specified subjects which replaced the GCE O level and CSE
2. Informal a pass in a GCSE examination
Noun 1. and being rejected by the object of all your adolescent desire.
Waking up and realising you have survived these nightmares and can fight another day helps prepare you for the horrible failures you'll more than likely have to face as an adult.
All young people should be encouraged to think they'll succeed and to aim high. If they want to try to be pop stars when they can't sing, why not? There are quite a few who have done this and succeeded. There might even be a few TV personalities and judges who didn't get it right first time.
Technical capability isn't all. It has to start with the confidence that you can at least try to master those abilities. No-one learned anything by believing they couldn't do it.