You’ve likely heard me talk about the importance of failure and the impact it can have on your success. Well, I preach the same message in my parenting, and let’s just say it doesn’t translate the same.
My oldest son is a stellar baseball player, he excels at most sports and is uber-competitive. My husband and I were athletes, so I understand his passion and drive for excellence.
He recently said to me, “Mom, I’m going to lose my baseball game, you said it was good to fail.”
Gulp, ok maybe my failure leads to success speech can get lost in translation for a 7-year-old.
“Buddy, what I mean is if you lose your baseball game, it’s ok, you will learn something that will help you the next time to maybe win.”
It made me realize, it’s not that failure is GOOD per se, but more inevitable. So when we only expect success, failure can seem sudden and disappointing instead of assuring that there was a lesson that needed to be learned before the great success.
As parents, we want to protect our children from any pain or discomfort. We want them to succeed and thrive, and failure can feel like a roadblock to that success. The thing is, I believe that shielding our children from failure can hinder their growth and development.
When we shelter our children from failure, we deny them the opportunity to learn and grow from their mistakes. Kids need to experience disappointment and setbacks because it helps them develop resilience and ability to persevere through tough times. When we rescue our children from every failure, we inadvertently send the message that success is the only acceptable outcome, and that can lead to a fear of failure that can be paralyzing.
Of course, it’s not easy to watch our children struggle or fail. It can be heartbreaking to see them disappointed or upset. But it’s important to remember that these moments can be some of the most valuable learning experiences of their lives.
Now, I just need to figure out how to articulate that better to my little ones.
I know you likely agree with the parenting style of embracing failure, yet the number one response I get when asking leaders what they are afraid of is “I’m afraid of failure.”
Why can we embrace the lessons of failure for our kids but not for ourselves?
Say out loud what scares you about failure and see if that gives it a bit less power.
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