Word #62 of 100 – Failure

Word #62. Failure.

The grand f-word. Nobody likes it.

At the least, it can be embarrassing. At the most, it can be life-threatening.

But when we use failure in order to learn, we grow. In fact, without it, we probably won’t grow.

This means a redefining of this word is in order. I like Carol Dweck’s description: “Failure is information – we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.’”

How can we help our children use failure as a tool for learning rather than a personal identification of their character?

Like making decisions aloud, we can share our mistakes with our children as part of everyday conversations.

Let them hear you say things like:  “I made a big mistake today.” “Wow, I messed up.” “That was so embarrassing.” “I’m really disappointed.”

Then move the conversation along to what you’ll do differently next time, what you learned and how you are dealing with the consequences. This will open the door for our children to feel free to share openly with us, let go of shame, and move forward after a heartbreaking failure.

Vulnerability like this takes us beyond learning and into the realm of freedom. Now that’s an f-word I can embrace.