My hardest job

My friend, Andi, over at kung-fu chicken has written an amazing piece on the place of failure in the lives of our children. As parents, it is so hard to watch our kids fail. My son is an amazing child. I know, I know… I’m his dad, I’m supposed to say that… but he really is!  He is a master of bike riding, Pokemon, Power Rangers, Yugi-Oh!… He knows which Pokemon are evolved from which other Pokemon… He can remember which color Power Ranger each character has been and in which series… He learned to ride his bike w/o training wheels before his 5th birthday and it only took 2 tries… My goal for him this summer was to get him to the beginning of water safety… At least to the point where he would be able to get back to the side if he fell into or jumped (more likely) into water that was over his head… well… summer’s over and he’s there… I’m calling him “Fish” now!  He jumps in, bounces up off the bottom of the pool, turns around and swims back to the side, all without any help from me… wow…

But, he doesn’t “fail” well… He hasn’t learned to accept defeat with grace and with humility… He pouts, he cries, he has been known to scream and punch the couch… I don’t want to get him used to failure, but he won’t always succeed… How do I prepare him?
My parents always told me I was special and smart and talented and gifted…  Am I?  I guess…  But, so what?  Lots of people are talented… I know they never intended it, but I learned that I was entitled because I was talented… that things would be easy for me because I was smart… this is SO not the case…

So.. what?  I don’t know, really… I want my son to know he’s an amazing individual, he’s precious to his mother and me, he’s loved by God, and… he’s just like everybody else….



3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the kudos 🙂 It’s so hard to teach kids how to deal with failure because it happens in so many different ways. Sometimes it’s because they lose at a game – which we then try to teach them to be a good sport. Sometimes it’s because someone says something to them that dashes their self-esteem – which we then try to teach them that everyone has their own opinions and we should watch what we say to others. And then, other times, failure comes because they haven’t mastered some set of skills and they must learn to approach their problem another way or continue practicing or to walk away. Parenting is tricky business and I believe it’s best approached with lots of love, prayer and grace 🙂

  2. Your mom and dad told you that you were all those things because they are true. However, the point was not to cause you to believe that you were better than others, but that you had been given the ability to do/become all that GOD had intended for you.

    Failure is the most effective of teachers IF we realize that failure is not an assualt on our worth, but only on our skills.


  3. seanair-

    as I wrote, I know they never intended me to believe I was better than others… One of my greatest failings is pride… also, I tend to be lazy… I have learned, finally, that I *have* to work hard, and I won’t always succeed… I have learned, as you wrote, “failure is not an assault on (my) worth, but only on (my) skills”

    Thanks for your thoughts, they are always appreciated.

    Matty the Stranger

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