My children are getting older. We’ve traded diapers, sippy cups, afternoon naps and training wheels- for ski practice, swim practice, history tests and movie night.
Jack will be 10 this year. As I see it, we only have 8 more years to make sure he has learned all the lessons we want to teach him. Then, we’ll hopefully be sending a responsible, hard working, positive, well-educated, thoughtful, productive young adult out into the world on his own.
As he gets older, I’ve come to the realization that some of the lessons we have taught him are embedded in his core. ONE of those lessons is centered around the lightbulb.
What do I mean by that? It’s simple.
It took Thomas Edison two years and 6,000 attempts to successfully create the lightbulb. That means, he FAILED 5,999 times.
I said it.
And yes, my children will FAIL, too. They won’t always get what they want. The outcome is not always going to be what they are hoping. They will FAIL at their attempts.
It’s my job- as a parent- to TEACH them how to acknowledge that failure in a positive way.
Failing is a part of life. At least it SHOULD be. It seems to me, however, that now a days- children are not allowed to feel failure. Everything is masked by a positive twist, a play on words, a safety net.
I say… just let them fail.
You’re not always going to be the smartest, or the strongest, the fastest or the most gifted. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It doesn’t have to ruin a child’s self-esteem. If anything, each failure should be an opportunity to strengthen a child’s confidence.
One of the most important lessons I can teach my children is how to FAIL. In fact,if you’re not failing at SOMETHING- than maybe you aren’t out there attempting MORE. Going to the next level. Taking a chance. Having faith in yourself.
Do I WANT my children to fail? Of course not. But they will. And when they aren’t able to achieve their goal-whether it’s getting an A on a test or making a travel team, winning student president or landing their first job-I know they will use that failure as a lesson. They will accept it. They will learn from it. It will not discourage them. They won’t fall apart. And if they really want it- they will use that failure to FUEL their efforts.
You don’t get to win- just because you show up and do the time. You win because you have the faith and confidence in yourself to keep on trying.
You will succeed if you have a good attitude, perseverance, courage and determination.
So, yes, we’re halfway through childhood. Halfway through our lessons. Some conversations are harder than others. But each lesson is important- and part of a bigger picture.
The lightbulb? It’s a message. You are not entitled to your dreams. You need to WORK for them.
Someday we will send our children off into the world. (Someday is coming faster and faster.) If we do our job- Jack, Lily, Kate and Molly will know how to take care of themselves. They will accept constructive criticism as a way to improve. They will take chances with the assurance that it will be okay- even when they don’t get what they want.
Failure will mean nothing more than going back and trying again, working harder.
Yep. Jack is 10. It’s going fast. But he knows all about the lightbulb. That’s one more lesson to cross off the list.