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?