(image from Pixabay)
I am a firm believer in #AllWillSucceed. This morning I had a conversation on twitter about this topic. It stemmed from a purpose and focus that a particular school had for it's pupils. I understand some people have a problem with this idea that #AllWillSucceed, because to be frank, a lot of people think achieving success is too hard. It can conjure up images of epic failure, as children could be built up to believe that they can all achieve A's and go off to University and have glittering careers .... then reality hits and they don't live up to what their ideas of success are. Because of this entrenched belief that success is too hard to achieve, teachers and parents can hold children back from actively pursuing and working for a life vision they have for themselves. To change this we have to address two things - firstly, we have to look at what success is and what that means within a school and even a family environment, secondly, we have to accept that children are human beings as well, with dreams and hopes .... remember when you were a child?
What is success? When we think of success we generally think of the Donald Trumps, Tom Cruises, and Simon Cowells of this world. But are these people really to be held up as examples of great successes in life? From my perspective no. Sure they are extremely wealthy and famous .... and that is how we measure success these days, but what else are they really known for? We have to address and reflect, individually and collectively, on what we see as being a successful person, and if we can change the image of success for our children, we have the chance to all succeed. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the family and school to work together to paint a picture of success that is fresh, relevant, and attainable. So what can success be? Success can be little or big, it can impact on an individual and a community, it can be about the external or the intrinsic - success should be personal to each person, for example, a person who attains a maths degree at Uni has had a success - in their eyes - and whilst I can see that as a success for them, I don't want a maths degree, so I will not be aiming to get one. In terms of children, we have to show them their potential and support them in the big and small wins they have every day. We have to change their understanding of what a success is, so that when they get to school on time, when they tidy their bedrooms, when they work hard to improve their reading, when they win that running race, when they pass an exam they thought they would fail, these are all successes. It is about seeing success in a wholistic way, it isn't just about how wealthy or famous you are, it is about the type of person you are and how this radiates out into everyday life.
What about the child's potential? All of us, from the moment we are born, have an innate potential that we can achieve in life. Depending on whether we are given the right support, conditions, and development, AND Self Belief, we will succeed ... or not. Given a chance though, a child could achieve their potential and even exceed said potential. So why should we hold them back from trying? Currently we have a social view of protecting our children from failure, but failure is how we learn and grow, and so shouldn't we encourage our children to try things, to aim for success, and to experience the inevitable failures that come with that. Failure will build their resilience and ability to cope with adversity, it will also teach them that just because they have failed in that particular respect it doesn't mean that they are failures as people. You can't have success without failure; you can't flourish in life without truly experiencing all that life has to offer, including the hardships.
So Mr Headteacher who is directing his school to a #AllWillSucceed vision, all the more power to you - support your students in all aspects of their lives, give them the chances they deserve and the opportunities to get there. Be a guiding light in the education system, a beacon of hope, that through school, family, and community all children have an understanding of what true success is.