No one likes failure, but I think some of us may struggle with it more than others.
I have one child in particular who loathes failure. He is often paralyzed by merely the thought of it; so much so that he can’t seem to get started. Now this isn’t all bad. He’s my cautious one, the one who thinks before jumping into things and takes the time to analyze. But there is a fine line when analyzing and thinking about something can slip into speaking doubt to oneself and stalling out. Because let’s face it, there are things we are all called to do that seem impossible from the outset. And if you engage in negative self-talk you will talk yourself out of doing just about anything before you have even begun. You won’t fail, but you also miss out on doing anything. You’ll miss out on witnessing that seemingly impossible feat happen!
We have opportunities to learn from our mistakes each and every day. Just this last week, we went to the airport to drop my older two off. They were meeting my mom at the gate to leave for Washington DC. Maybe I’m paranoid, but in this day and age, I wasn’t about to let those two out of my sight at a busy airport until we met up with my mom which meant getting a gate pass for myself and the younger two so we could get through security. Everything was fun and smooth sailing until starting loading up the conveyor belt at the security checkpoint. At this point, my youngest boy turned to me with a horrified look and whispered his confession as he peeped his swiss army knife out of his pocket. #facepalm With a hint of tears, he surrendered his beloved knife after I unsuccessfully tried to figure out a way to have them hold it for 30 minutes while we dropped the older two off. That was a “no-go”. It was a painful mistake to make and after using his allowance money to get this new Leatherman-ish replacement, I think he will think twice before taking that to the airport again. THIS was an opportunity to talk about how we can learn from our mistakes.
So what is it for your kids? Not understanding that math concept the first time around, saying something stupid (welcome to the club, kid), breaking something because they weren’t careful enough, performing in that recital after you bombed the last one…
Opportunities abound to help our kids walk through mistakes and failure. We NEED to let them make this walk.
Because here’s the thing that they need to know about failure. Here’s truth that we need to revisit over and over again as we move out bravely into new territory and unknown adventures…
FAILURE IS THE BEST WAY TO LEARN
We need to learn to embrace failure and the opportunities that it affords. Failures are a part of life. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn, you’ll never change.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison
FAILURE ISN’T FINAL
Failure isn’t final unless you remain where you’ve fallen.
It’s okay to not know, but its not okay to not try.
You are stronger than you think.
It always seems impossible until it’s done.
Failure is the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.
FAILURE AND SUCCESS GO HAND IN HAND
Failure is success in progress.
You always pass failure on the way to success. – Mickey Rooney
Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill
Reminding ourselves that we are not alone: “When we are weak, HE is strong.” 2 Cor 12:9
WE ALL FAIL.
I think it is easy for our kids to think they are the only one’s who fail. Helping them to see when others fail and then pick themselves up is important.
I had the opportunity to do that with this child of mine earlier this week. In my rush to get the last blog post out, I forgot to size a couple of pictures and then something wonky happened with my formatting. Everything looked fine on the blog, but the mortification I felt when I saw the email that went out was enough to make me want to give up on the challenge of the techie parts of my blog. I had to talk myself down from that tree where I was flirting with the idea of running away from it all. Having recently given my son a pep talk on failure and moving past it, I decided to listen to my own advice and see how I could learn from it.
I chose to show him that what should have been a beautiful email with lovely pictures and how it went horribly wrong. I gave him a glimpse into my failure and then walked him through things that I was going to do differently to try to prevent that from happening next time.
Bringing our kids into our failures, owning up to them, and then letting them see us working through can have a big impact.
We can be our own worst critic and in our family having visual reminders really helps us speak truth to ourselves. I’ve put together 8 of our favorite phrases to combat fear of failure into a free download for y’all!
(For those of you faithful email subscribers, you can simply enter the same email address in the form below again for immediate access to the download.)