Anyone who has ever spent much time with children will appreciate the difference between those who have been raised to believe the sun rises and sets in their bedroom and those who have learned that being loved doesn't mean that you never make a mistake.
The first set of kids will act however they want, defy authority and cry when they don't get their way because they've only ever been told that they are perfect little angels whose every whim must be catered to ahead of everything else in the world. The second set will understand that failing is just a way to set yourself up for future success because you learn from your mistakes in order to avoid them the next time.
We're thinking about this in light of Rex Ryan's interview on "The Michael Kay Show" on Monday, which featured Ryan's latest proclamation of supreme confidence in himself and his team. That confidence stops him from even considering that he'd be fired if the Jets fail to impress again this season.
"I know I’m a great coach, and what makes me a great coach is the guys that coach with me and the guys that play for me," Ryan said. "It’s hard for me to look at myself as not being successful. I don’t see that as a possibility. One day, it might be 10 years from now or 15 years from now when Woody Johnson wants to go in a different direction, and that’s fine."
On the surface, there's absolutely nothing wrong with what Ryan said. Self-confidence is a necessary part of the makeup of almost every successful person who ever lived and Ryan's confidence in his own coaching abilities comes from a very real place since last year's 8-8 record is the worst he's ever had.
Beyond that, though, things get stickier. Confidence in yourself and others is fine as long as there's a reaction beyond "Great job!" when you or others fail to make good on that confidence.
Ryan hasn't shown much affinity for that part of things. His response has been to double down on the confident rhetoric instead of tweaking his approach, publicly anyway, in response to how things ended last season.
Why would he do any differently without a fear that he'll be held accountable if the Jets perform poorly in 2012? While we don't think he should absolutely lose his job, there isn't anyone who should feel so secure in their position that they don't even contemplate the ax falling on their neck if they can't meet expectations.
That should be on the table or the thought of a fundamentally changed Jets team should be taken off because actions have to have consequences. If they don't, you're just left with a spoiled brat who feels entitled to everything without being willing to work for anything, and such people are always failures.