Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Success of Failure

Recently I had a conversation with someone whom for all outward appearances is a great parent, but then an awkward statement was received by me.  The topic of building self esteem and the fact that this parent does not want their children to become self conscious of their actions.  Ok, I'm with you and no parent wants their children to become self conscious and to second guess their actions in all they do.  However, the great divide between this other parent and me became evident when this parent made the comment that we must protect our kids from failure.  Ok, you lost me.

If we protect our children from failure, then how do we expect for them to learn and grow from inevitable failures in their life?  The issue to me is that we are to help our children to cope and learn from failures and build their repository of experiences to draw upon to build future successes.  I quickly realized that it is in fact, "The Fear Factor", is at the center of this issue.  Are some parents instilling a fear of failure in their children, rather than preventing failure?  I would say yes.

Failure breeds and incredible teaching moment and I wonder how many parents are missing out on this opportunity.  All due to fear.  Do you protect your children from failure or do you encourage them to try?  I'm pondering if you can do both, but off the top of my head I'm not seeing how the two philosophies can coexist.  History gives us a great blue print on how monumental successes happened, that are often at the ledge of catastrophic failure.  The history of the founding of our great country is just one of many examples and I bet if you talk to anyone in the older generation you can get an earful of their successes.  I bet you will also find that many of those successes came with great risk of failure.

Just a thought to ponder in your daily parenting. 

The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure. - Sven Goran Erikkson

The only real failure in life is the failure to try.- Unknown

Fear of failure must never be a reason to not try something. - Frederick Smith

There are no failures- just experiences and your reactions to them. - Tom Krause

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. - Colin Powell


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