On the fear of making mistakes.
Who has never been afraid of being wrong? There is hardly such a person in the world. Sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes in all areas of life, others in some of them. The truth is that the fear of making mistakes is something that accompanies us throughout life and that is why it is so important to talk about it.
Given the fear of mistake, we have several options. The first one: to get paralyzed. To stop, to not try, to not do a thing, or even do it, but “with the minimum effort”, as if trying to somehow translate into a minimum cost, if things don’t go as we expected.
When we take this path, apparently, we have reduced the risk, the anxiety, we stay in a comfort zone, because there is only what we know, for better and for worse. All this may seem beneficial in the short term, but taking this path has also some cons. When fear of error paralyzes us, and we avoid it, we lose the opportunity to explore, discover and learn our environment and ourselves in other circumstances, and therefore, we limit ourselves to allowing new and different possible ways of being ourselves.
The second option we have, given the fear of making mistakes, is to try. Give us a chance, try, move forward. Take that leap that we had long hoped for, but understanding that it has to be with all our energy and strength, because in that leap we are risking many things. Sometimes we risk everything. In this paradigm, the motto could be “who does not risk does not win”. And yes, there is some of that. But the truth is that, to take risks, and therefore to win, we need to learn to make those jumps and that cannot happen in front of a precipice, because if we make a mistake there, we will hardly have a second chance.
Something similar happens with life itself. We all want to be bold, take risks and win. But the truth is that many times the fear of making mistakes is stronger. We learned it in schools, we learned it by looking at prison and prison systems, we learn it by seeing sarcasm and viral mockery on social media when someone says or does something wrong by mistake. “To err is human” says the saying, but our generation wants to be like the gods: nothing more or less than perfect. And in a perfect being there is no room for error. But be careful: neither for growth and development.
On the concept of “Moratorium”
The concept of psychosocial moratorium was created by Erik Erikson around the 1960s. Erikson defined “moratorium” as that experimentation that we humans carry out at certain moments in life, in which our environment understands that we are testing our relationship and interaction with the environment that surrounds us and, therefore, allows us the possibility of making mistakes, without this error implying paying the real price it has in life itself.
In this sense, explains the author, moratorium profoundly influences the process of identity construction of people. Possessing frameworks in which young people enjoy a moratorium, allows access to experiences and opportunities that will facilitate constant evolution and improvement. It allows, returning to the metaphor that we used previously, to acquire tools, knowledge and skills to learn how to take that leap well.
On the place of the Tnua as a framework of Moratorium
In his article “The Code of Informality”, Professor Reuven Kahane lists and describes certain characteristics that youth organizations have that try to give meaning to their members. One of the concepts he mentions is that of moratorium, defining it as the “temporary postponement of duties and decisions that allows experimentation and error within wide institutional spaces” (Kahane, 1997).
Of course, within this type of youth organizations we can mention the Tnua. The Tnua is in many ways and moments, a platform specially designed so that those who are part of it can “learn by doing” in different areas and topics of their interest, such as administration, culture, sport, treasury, marketing & communication and education . This is how those who go through the Tnua receive the opportunity to test their talents, discover their potential, explore their interests, satisfy their curiosity, all this, while shaping and consolidating their own identity. In other words, the Tnua offers a safe space in which to gain experience without exposing ourselves to great dangers in the process.
On the difference between experience and experiment.
Without a doubt, having the chance to gain experience is a fantastic thing. It is a privilege that not many have. However, it is very important not to confuse “experience” with “experiment” when referring to moratorium. While experience is the learning that we acquire from an experience that we have gone through, “experiment” refers to a test that involves performing an action under certain conditions to observe its result. While the experience is based on the understanding that as an educator we have an enormous responsibility on our hands when it comes to acting (both inside and outside the Tnua), the experiment is detached from the commitment and obligation of our educational task, because in the center of attention is no longer our chanich, but the intention to prove ourselves and the results that we can achieve, regardless of the consequences.
In this sense, when we use the moratorium to gain experience, we do not do it out of ignorance or mere intuition, but we do it acting on the basis of knowledge, abilities, skills that we have acquired and grant us the right to act and the right to educate. Everything we do without taking this principle into account is pure experiment. Experimenting with our Chanichim in the activity, with the human and material resources of the Tnua is not only unethical or unmoral, it is neither just nor productive.
The moratorium on the Tnua is one of the most significant components that we have within youth movements. Both on an ideological and pedagogical level, the moratorium allows us to put into practice many of the ideas, values, and principles that we believe in from childhood and adolescence. This undoubtedly positively influences the construction and identity consolidation of our chaverim and chaverot in the Tnua.
In this way, the Tnua becomes one of the most significant, relevant and effective educational frameworks that we have, since the message that we transmit to our young people is that it is possible to contribute to the community, to society, to Am and Medinat Israel, and the world itself too, but for that you don’t have to wait to be an adult. It is possible to start from now, each one from his position, even if his first attempt is not entirely successful.
The Tnua is the platform that allows us to gain the necessary experience, skills and confidence, so that when we are ready, we take that great leap that allows us to risk and win as well.