I wrote this a few years ago while watching one of my boys at his first ever practice session for an age group swim team. I thought it appropriate to post today as many schools are finishing up before summer break, and report cards will begin arriving by snail mail and email. Even if you don’t have kids in school any longer, I believe we need to remember that failure can be success.
Have you ever watched your children fail? Or, maybe not so much failure as ‘not succeeding’ at something? An attempt is made, but success does not appear. Why? Lack of training? Lack of skill or talent?
As parents it hurts to see failure in our children. My first response many times goes along the lines of, “What can I do to fix it?” (My wife would say I react the same in our marriage.)
Can you fix it? Is there something that needs to be fixed? No. Failure, or lack of success, is normal. Not succeeding at a task is part of life. This is how we learn.
In my job, I fail everyday. Similar to a major league baseball player, if I succeed 30% of the time I am considered a success. Failure occurs 70% of the time. What would my kids think if they observed my failures?
As our children grow, they will fail. It’s okay. The experience may hurt (for them and you), but it will be okay. Hug them. Cry with them. Get angry together. And then, plan for what comes next. What activity can we jump into next? When will the next experience occur? It doesn’t matter what, where or when. What matters is that you are present. Failure or success.
What failure has been a success for you?