I was working with a group of parents yesterday on adoption education. One of the many things that came up in the context of a breakout discussion was the importance of failure, how it can be used as a positive, to build character, self-esteem and fortitude (among other things) in children. How do parents teach their children, adopted or not, the value of failing?
Talk of failure got me thinking of our family weekend. I know, odd. But let me explain. Wonderful friends invited the entire clan down for a weekend at their lake. We are always happy to be asked, but I do reemphasize with any such invite that there are six of us. And my four are ever-ready and nonstop, especially the boys. (I’ve seen them wear other kids out.)
My kids had the opportunity to water ski for the first time. We had successes and we had some not-successes. What impressed me though was how my kids fared emotionally with their failures to get up on skis after many attempts, because, believe me, there is competition within the ranks…
Frustration was minimal. Josi laughed it off. Aubry showed focus and acceptance. There weren’t any tears or anger. Yes, they were doing something that could be fun. Yes, the lake was exciting and beautiful. But what I saw was that my daughters were able to embrace failure.
Failure is part of the process of learning, of eventually succeeding. Both of the girls said that they would probably get up next time. I like that renewed determination!