The Ponder Effect | What is my best failure?
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What is my best failure?

There is a natural instinct for parents to protect their kids from failure. These efforts come from a good place but they backfire, because someone who doesn’t know how to fail doesn’t know how to succeed. Now we have books about the gift of failure. We have articles with titles like, How to Teach Your Kids to Fail.

Here’s a question: have you taught yourself to fail?

I was that girl—and she’s still in there, not too deeply buried. Perfectionist. High expectations, high achieving. Nothing less than an A would do. Nothing less than the highest praise was enough. It has served me well, to be that kind of person, and also not. I have to watch myself carefully as a mother not to put that on my kids. How and why do I even put that on myself? What is failure anyway? Isn’t everything a notch on the spectrum of learning?

When we ponder what our best failure might be, we aren’t touting or celebrating those experiences, because inevitably they were painful and possibly others were hurt in their process and wake. What we are doing, instead, is honoring them for what they have taught us and how they have humbled us in the way we needed.

Perhaps more than teach our kids how to fail, we would do well to learn to fail ourselves. And then share those stories candidly. Stories are the best teachers anyway. So, what is your “best” (possibly worst) failure? What can we learn from our collective failures?


Share your thoughts [All posts are 100% anonymous]

2 Ponderings
  • Anonymous

    April 29, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Calling off my first wedding. The whole relationship was a mess. I failed to listen to my gut instincts. I ignored myself, doubting what I thought could be true. I am finally learning to trust myself. .

    Failing Spanish three times in college. It led to my dyslexia diagnosis (which also made me feel like a failure) but has been crucial for me to understand about myself in order to succeed.

  • Anonymous

    May 1, 2019 at 6:46 am

    I have been observing this question all week. I find that my failures are slippery—they are on a spectrum of learning. Like, I feel like I fail as a mom often and yet “succeed” as a mom often. Likewise as a wife and friend. My best failures occur daily, and each is a chance to reflect and try again. Mostly they have to do with failing to show up fully—failing to be attentive, patient, truly caring.