How Japan raises resilient children

By Kate Lewis

As a very young toddler, my son frequently grew frustrated when attempting tasks. He often gave up easily when something proved too hard, asking for me to finish it. As a parent who prizes independence, this lack of effort was alarming, even in a child so young.

I wanted him to persist in challenging tasks, not give up at the first struggle. If at first he didn’t succeed, I wanted him to try again. Most importantly, I believed that what I taught him at two years old would shape the way he approached life in the future, and I wanted to give him tools to be self-reliant.

My Japanese-language teacher told me about a Japanese proverb that perfectly encapsulated what I wanted to teach: Nana korobi ya oki — “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” What I really wanted was for my son to learn resilience like the proverb. I didn’t want him to work only toward "success," but to keep trying, to keep pushing himself no matter the obstacles life throws in his way.

Ganbatte Vs. Good Luck

As I was thinking of ways to teach resilience to my son, a friend happened to say "Good luck!" before I climbed Mt Fuji. It struck me then that a vast difference between an American mindset and a Japanese one is in how we approach these big challenges in life. An American would say "Good luck!" before a big exam or presentation. In Japan, you’d say Ganbatte! – which translates roughly to "do your best!"

Click here to read more.

© Savvy Tokyo

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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With that headline, I really expected more in depth than one simple piece of advice.

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I think the author forgot to point out that in Japan it's common for mothers in particular to say, "I want to go out somewhere, but my kids have tests," where parents in other countries don't do the studying for them, or go to shrines to pray before a test (speaking of "good luck"). There are also no terms for "hikkikomori" or "parasite singles" when parents refuse to tell the kids to stop giving up.

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I mostly hear mothers saying ' no. that's too dangerous for you to try"!  (with or without 'dear' on the end...)

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There's a "Click here to read more" link for the full article.

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This creates despondent drones not resilient adults.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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