In recent years, I’ve read stories, listened to podcast interviews and watched videos on those who’ve achieved success in life. No matter the type of success they experienced, they all had one thing in common: they attribute their successes to their past failures.
I know this is nothing new. A child burns touches a hot stove, gets burned – failure. Child learns not to touch hot stove next time – success. So why the need to write a whole post on it?
In 2016 my daughter taught me a huge lesson, and she didn’t even realize it. I constantly urged her to study, to do extra homework, read more, spend more time practicing her violin, reading, do her chores, etc. that I forgot one very important thing…she’s a middle school kid, and kids that age are rebellious, like “making dad go bald” rebellious.
My pushy strategy somewhat worked, however, I felt like I was the 7th grader trying to keep track of homework, project due dates, studying for quizzes/tests. The good: she received Honor Roll on her first report card, The bad: with 2 other kids to keep track of, a wife and a full time job, I was mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the day. Seeing how little my daughter cared about the effort I put forth didn’t help either, and frankly, this method wasn’t helping our relationship…she was simply tuning out anything I said to her.
The day I embraced failure
It was a Sunday afternoon, and I found out she had a final science project due the following day. Rather than become green and massive with anger, I tapped into my inner Bruce Banner and kept it under control.
After speaking with my wife, I approached my daughter, explaining one simple solution to her dilemma: it’s not my problem. She’d either have to figure something out, or show up empty-handed and receive the “F” she’s earned. After giving me the look of death by 1,000 cat scratches, she began with her rant of how we don’t care.
Since that day, I’ve stepped back a bit and let her be the master of her destiny. Rather than be a player on the field, I’m now interested in watching from the sidelines, explaining that I’m here to assist her if she asks, but I won’t give her the answers and I’m not going to jump through hoops to make homework or projects happen. That’s all on her, she earns what she gets. If she succeeds, I’m happy, if she fails, I hope she learns from it. This method has shown progress.
A parent can only carry their child so far, it’s best to show them early on that you’re there for them, but the responsibility to solve their own problems is in their hands.
Do you have stories of teaching your kids about success and failure? Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.