When failing IS an option
Even the sound of the word ignites a myriad of unwanted and uneasy emotions. Like it’s a dirty piece of life to be avoided at all costs. But should it be? And should we teach our children as such?
I would suggest not. I would suggest it a part of life to be celebrated and learned from.
We touched on this subject back in March in the blog post “Lawnmowers”. The new type of parent that mows the mess out their child’s way to enable an easy path through childhood. A path devoid of struggle, a path devoid of failure. A path so simple to navigate that society is now dealing with the emergence of young adults that are simply not equipped to cope with the general ebbs and flows of life. Because without failure, there are no lessons. At least no practical lessons.
So what lessons can be learned from failure?
Here’s ten of my most favourite childhood lessons from failure;
- If you stick your hand into a flame it burns - don’t do it!
- If you fail to plan - you’re destined to fail!
- If you run into a hurdle instead of striding over it - it hurts - don’t do it!
- There is only ever one winner and it’s ok if it’s not you
- If you want to win, your whole heart needs to be in it
- If you fall from play equipment, it hurts, but you can get up again
- Old-school slippery slides are HOT, avoid them in the summertime
- If you choose to skip training, you don’t get to play
- A broken heart is painful, but life continues
- Life can be tricky, but it’s always an adventure
Trivial, right? And that’s the point! If we learn to cope with failure at a young age when our ‘problems’ are small (from an adult’s perspective), would it not make sense that we are learning to cope with setbacks, that we are learning to cope with failure. Perhaps we are welcoming failure into our lives as a measure of success, as a marked attempt to reach a goal.
Am I encouraging our children TO fail? Absolutely not! I enthusiastically advocate setting achievable goals, working towards them, and celebrating success. What I am encouraging is allowing failure to be an option. To make it ok when it happens and to unpack the lessons learned.
Who’s with me?
Come on over to The Village to discuss! Just two simple steps to join (it’s free);
Want to unpack a recent failure in your house? Send me an email and I’ll reply with this week’s downloadable template.