Cultivating an “Antifragile” Character

Children who are increasingly self-reliant, resilient, and empowered self-advocates who persevere through success and failure is, I believe, a hallmark of what they will need to be successful in their future in the 21st century. Our local and global communities are constantly changing, requiring growing flexibility as we live and move within them. Rapid advances in technology make information evermore accessible, with the increasing need to be discriminate in our absorption and use of it.

This article, reflecting on a book titled Antifragile, uses that term to describe a dynamic and responsive resilience that grows and changes over time. 

Antifragile or How We Become Fragile

As we think about the rate of change of the world around us, the words of the article ring truer than ever as they pertain to education:

“We still think we benefit from protecting people and organizations from volatility—from life. It’s a practice with unintended yet harmful side effects. A fact of life: “no stability without volatility.” A little confusion can lead to teachable moments, growth and stability.”

As teachers (and parents), we ought be less afraid of randomness in our lives and in the lives of our students. We ought to be less anxious about providing experiences and challenges for children that we cannot see the clear end result of. We ought to resist the reflex to be overprotective and overly scripted in our living and teaching.

Let’s strive, as adults, to be more antifragile ourselves so that our children can face the challenges awaiting them in their future with confidence in their skills to adapt, solve, collaborate, grow, innovate, and effect change for their communities around them.

See also: Wendy Mogul, author of Blessings of a Skinned Knee

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