Failure is something we all try to avoid. We are embarrassed by it and discouraged by it. Our “self-esteem” plummets when we experience it. We attempt to hide it or deny it. And as parents, we definitely try to keep our kids from experiencing it!
This month, I want to encourage you to let your children go through some of those dreaded failures! I want to encourage you that it could actually be very good for them for you to stop being 10 steps ahead of your kids at all times making sure there are no bumps in their paths. Stop making their lessons easier so they don’t have to struggle to grasp a new concept or giving them fewer practice exercises because “they are too tired.” It is through failures and struggles that we grow and most importantly humility is built. When our children “apparently” succeed at everything they try because we have either eliminated the challenges ahead of them or hid them, our children become “wise in their own eyes.” Proverbs 3:7 warns us from becoming wise in our own eyes and encourages us instead to fear the Lord. When a child stumbles and struggles and experiences failure, he has an opportunity to learn about his human failings and his need for a savior. Going through failure can actually help point our kids back to God! And that is what our parenting is all about, right? We want our kids to understand their need for a savior and surrender their lives to our Heavenly Father.
I have encountered a fair amount of teens who have been shielded from failure for most of their early years and are now sadly lacking in humility. It is hard for them to completely surrender their lives to Jesus when they are prideful.
Please understand that I am not saying in any way to be harsh with your children and overly critical and creating a desperately insecure child. Don’t structure situations that set them up for failure. Just don’t make everything so easy for them so that they don’t have to deal with the natural consequences of their actions and limitations. My husband and I chose to involve our children in youth theater, knowing full well that it would expose them to the very probable experience of disappointment of not being cast for roles they wanted. There were many opportunities for growth during their years in theater, but the one that I found the most positive was learning humility.
Scripture tells us:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
It took me many years to fully embrace that verse. I did not want to look at the trials in my life as joyful events. After years, I have come to understand how powerful they have been and how they have drawn me closer to my Heavenly Father. Many of you know that I have a severely autistic 20 year old son who functions at about a 2 year old level. Parenting him, while bringing me many joys, has also brought me to the end of myself and to the feet of Jesus to ask for His wisdom, patience, and strength.
Our goal should be to learn from our failures and become like the righteous man described in Proverbs:
“For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16)
In His service,
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This is a collection of the reflections our principal, Susan Truman submits to our monthly newsletters. She is married to her college sweetheart and is a mother of three. She graduated two of her children from Coastal with her third child attending a special needs school.