From very young we are taught that getting something wrong is a bad thing. Mistakes are something to be ashamed of and chances are some form of punishment followed a failure.
This follows through into the working environment. We are all too aware when emails do the rounds in an effort to deflect blame when something goes wrong. We’ve all been in meetings held specifically to “find the culprit” rather than finding a solution and putting a process in place to prevent the same thing happening again.
Inevitably, our kids get to hear about this because we talk about it at home. They learn through us that making mistakes as an adult is just as much of a problem as when you are a kid.
What this means is that throughout our lives we are sensitised to failure being a bad thing. Sadly this often leads to people not trying anything new because of the “What if I fail?” voice that lurks in our minds. Failure means the end.
A favourite quote of mine by A.P.J Abdul Kalam says this:
“If you fail, never give up because F.A.I.L means “First Attempt In Learning”. End is not the end, in fact E.N.D means “Effort Never Dies. If you get No as an answer, remember N.O means “Next Opportunity”. So let’s be positive.”
As parents we need to teach our kids about the positive side of failing at something. It means that you have at least tried. It means that you have an opportunity to look at a process and make a change so that you can do better next time. It is a chance to learn something about a situation and about yourself.
Being a parent you need to walk the talk. Our kids need to see how we fail and what we do to pick ourselves up and turn the situation around. We need to be the ones who model the concept of “Effort Never Dies”.
And yes, this moist definitely applies to test and exams. Sometimes all the effort does not show in the results. Instead of berating our kids we need to take a step back & assess what has happened. Is there something happening at school that is creating anxiety? Is your child possibly not using the best method for them to study? Are they leaving their studies to the last minute?
And yes this applies equally to sport. You might have been the A –team netball player, that doesn’t mean that your child will be too. Allow your child to try out all of the sports possible until they find what works for them.
Of course there is a big difference between putting in the effort and failing and not putting in any effort and failing. As a parent you know when your kid is not applying themselves. Before getting upset with them, try and figure out why they are not applying themselves.
It’s very easy to lose the plot. I know I’ve had to pull myself back from the edge on a number of occasions. The key is to remember what it was like being a kid, take the time to understand the developmental phase your child is in and work with that.
Let’s not make the mistakes of the generations before us. Let’s encourage our kids to try everything, find what works for them and encourage them to excel in what they love.