Monday, January 9, 2012

The Benefits of Failure

Here in America, we don't want our children to suffer. We don't want them to struggle, feel pain or have challenges.

Here in America, we are handicapping our children and setting them up for disaster as adults.

Newsflash: failure IS an option, and it is not always a bad thing.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm. ~Winston Churchill

Failure isn't fun. Like the author of this article, I have had my fair share. I diidn't make my varsity soccer team. I dropped out of high school. I declared bankruptcy at 21. I have had articles, stories and poetry rejected. I have lost at love and experienced failure as both a teacher and student. I can say, confidently, that after a long string of what I would consider failures, I wasn't particularly enthusiastic.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. ~Winston Churchill

Somehow along the way I had someone or something model the importance of getting up after failure and trying again. This is not pithy advice, offered lightly. Struggling is no fun. Failing feels really bad. It may make you cry, berate yourself, snap at your kids and be a generally horrible person for a time. You may get weary of starting over, and you may throw up your hands, at times.

If you are watching your kid fail at something, you may be inclined to intercede on their behalf so they do not feel this way. Unless it is a safety situation, DO NOT. Allow them to struggle when the struggle isn't life-threatening.

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure. ~Confucius

Failing is preparation for something else. Your kid will not work hard without skin in the game. Life is neither easy nor fair, and if you strive to provide a childhood in which it is both, you will instead create an adulthood of constant disappointment and disillusionment.

The majority of [people] meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail. ~Napoleon Hill
If you want to help your kid (and yourself), help them learn to create new plans after they fail. Help them develop an understanding of multiple perspectives and allow them to try them all on for size. One of the benefits of failure (ours and our children's) is that it teaches us more about ourselves and gives us a lifetime of ways to learn and grow. If you constantly buffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, your child will remain a child, never growing into their potential.
Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes. ~John Dewey
Failing carries benefits that can foster long-term success and happiness. Don't deny your kids the opportunity to be truly incredible.

1 comment:

  1. This refusal to accept suffering, illness, feel pain, challenges, or struggle is having a devastating consequences not only on the children but on the entire human race

    Vincent Esprit FMI