Failure Is An Option

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in Caroline von Helms | 0 comments

Yes, you read the date correctly, it is officially twenty- six days past the deadline I gave myself to have posted my next blog. I have officially now missed my goal of twelve blogs this year. I thought of ways to make it up. I could quickly write two in this month and still meet my goal; I could list out all the justified obstacles I encountered and why I should be pardoned (this is called excuses); or just accept responsibility and move on. As much as I considered the first two, a conversation with my son has caused me to choose the third. An occasion came about where he had to meet a deadline in order to reach a goal. He ran out of time and did not make the cut. He was devastated (I am, unfortunately, not as devastated by missing my goal). My first response as a parent has always been, how can we fix, solve, remove this obstacle or problem. This tendency of mine has been passed on to him. I use to be proud of this, my son the problem solver. Don’t misunderstand, teaching your children to think through ways to get over obstacles is a valuable skill that is necessary in life. We label this as perseverance, grit, determination. All of these are incredibly needed, but another equally needed skill is one we do not teach our children enough and that is how to fail. Teaching how to accept responsibility when their best efforts, or their lack of effort is not enough is valuable. But, we as parents tend to minimize for the sake of not wanting to see them hurt,  be disappointed, angry, left out, any numberof emotions. This is a disservice to them. If we don’t help them master these emotions as they grow up, we will send out adults who will not know how to accept rejection, failure, or mistakes. Learning how to handle failure is a life skill that needs to be mastered. So the next time your son or daughter doesn’t make the grade, team, goal that he or she wanted, do not jump straight to the problem solving strategy, but evaluate if it is that teachable moment to work on learning to accept failure. Just as a side note, when we accept failure, we are acknowledging our brokenness, we are steering away from the performance driven culture we live in, and we are declaring “I am not enough”.  It is a perfect opportunity to look at the One who is Enough, and remember the grace and love bestowed on us. It is a perfect opportunity to remind our children and ourselves that God’s love (and hopefully our love) is not based on performance or the goals we reach. So as I finish my second blog in three months, it is a wake up call to remind myself that I am loved whether I write twelve blogs or eleven this year (but I have readjusted my goal to eleven)! Next month, we will get back to “How to Know if Your Child Needs Counseling.”

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