A: “Can you teach a young teen how to keep at something, even if it’s ‘boring’ or ‘hard’?” I badly want to give you an enthusiastic yes, but that would be a bit of a lie. Like everything in life, the answer is unsatisfactory, because, well, it depends.
Facing difficult emotions, such as the pain of failure and the fear of trying something new (or even old), is a teachable skill. We can expose ourselves to hard things, over and over, and if we’re gently nudged and lovingly supported, we can grow to tolerate these hard feelings — and even thrive past them. I recently found myself as a passenger with a dear friend who was petrified to drive over a huge bridge in her convertible. She asked: “Should I do it?” I said: “Yes, I believe in you!” She didn’t speak much, but we breathed and listened to music, and she did it. Her brain now knows she can do that task; tolerating that hard emotion grew her resilience, and she now will probably do it again.
But it’s not the same with a young teen, is it?