It’s no secret that I’ve been at war with helicopter parents. It’s one of the reasons we have the Failure Competition. I want students to know that everyone fails once in a while, or you’re not trying hard enough. I also want students to understand that what’s important is that you learn how to recover from failure and have it make you both wiser and mentally tougher.
Last week in Atlanta I got another weapon in my arsenal… I was having dinner with Dave and Dana Patton, two very successful alums of the college who live in Atlanta. They had just sent their daughter off to Auburn and were commenting on what the orientation experience was like there. Like a lot of institutions, they had a separate session for parents. At that session, they suggested that when a student calls home with a problem, that the parents not solve it for them but instead ask: “So, how are you thinking of handling this?” That is an awesome suggestion that encourages students to become independent problem solvers.
If you are a student, think about this question before calling home, going to see a career coach, advisor or mentor. It’s not only a great way to develop your own problem-solving skills, but will help frame your discussion with the person from whom you are seeking advice or perspective.
Thanks for passing that nugget along, Dave and Dana, and thanks for hosting President Whittaker and all of us Thursday night.