Parents are always talking about the things we sacrifice to make things better for our children. We give gifts of time and attention. We give physical gifts in the form of teddy bears, Ipads and whatever else they need and want. We give emotional gifts including our love and affection, even when we don’t feel they deserve it at times. We want them to have the best gifts. Have you ever stopped to think about if you have allowed them to receive the gift of failure? Is failure really a gift? Jessica Lahey makes an amazing case that it is indeed a gift that we can’t afford to let our children grow up without. It’s time to be willing to sacrifice a little immediate comfort on our part and the part of our children in order to have something far greater in the long run. The endowment of failure is an immeasurable asset for our children’s growth and transition to adulthood.
You’re and Failure and so am I
You are a failure and it’s a good thing! I’m a failure too. Hopefully your kids are a bunch of failures too! Everyone fails at one point or another. Failure is usually something we fear and loathe. We often think of it as the end of something but Lahey’s great new book “The Gift of Failure” reminds us that failure is simply a necessary part of learning, growing and successful resilience.
Trouble with laces is not just about laces
Lahey recounts a story we can all relate to about her son’s personal struggle with tying his own shoe laces. She recounts how she had saved him time and again from the discomfort and pain of tying his laces until one day she decided to let him experience the entire experience for himself. She observed her son’s pain of tangled knots and starting over and suffered with him until the moment when he made it happen. She writes to the parents reading…
“No, it’s not going to be this simple. The stakes get higher and the consequences get bigger as our children get older. Lumpy knots and uneven shoelaces give way in the blink of an eye to flawed college essays and botched job interviews, and there’s only so much time available to instill confidence and resilience in our children. The work begins the first moment our babies fail to grasp a toy or fall as they toddle across the room, and continues until they head out into their own lives. The sooner parents learn to appreciate the positive aspects of hardship and allow children to benefit from the upside of failurein childhood, the sooner all of us will have the opportunity to share in the moments of pride like the one I saw on my son’s face as he secured those laces.”
With each stage of our children’s development comes an internal drive to do more, to be more independent. Lahey knows and teaches us that with each step in their lives comes new challenges with greater consequences. If they are not able to learn to fail and learn from their failures while they are small, the challenges of adulthood will crush them. With each failure and resilient application of will our children become more capable to weather the storms and struggles and feel the thrill of achievment that much more as a result.
Praise for The Gift of Failure
Jessica Lahey has a sincerity that is brought out in her honesty. She refrains from pointing fingers or shaming by sharing her own struggles as a mother and teacher. She has given us this wonderful gift of learning from her experience and “hard knox” education.
The gift of failure is a great reminder of our own personal “failure” and the lessons they have been in our own lives. It encourages and inspires us to first perceive the opportunities embedded in every failure and second to remember to allow our own children to experience the strength building power of the failures in their lives. Lahey gives insight and practical tips on how to apply these principles in our daily parenting and lives and how to turn mistakes into success.