“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” - Robert F. Kennedy
When I was a kid, I remember being willing to try almost anything. I wasn’t afraid to do stuff, mainly because I knew I wasn’t very good at very much.
That might seem like a sad statement, but it’s the truth. I was very good at eating. I was very good at doing things to make people laugh. However, I wasn’t very good at basketball. I wasn’t very good at math. I wasn’t very good at singing. I wasn’t very “popular”, so I wasn’t very good at fitting in with the “in” crowd. Yet, I never stopped trying to do any of the things listed above, especially the eating part.
I accepted the things I was good at, but I was able to embrace the fact that I wasn’t going to be the best at everything, so I needed to try everything.
As a youth pastor, I am witnessing a lot of quitting. Young people giving up or saying “no” to things they have no idea whether or not they can accomplish. They are great at sports, but horrible at board games, so they choose to stick to sports and will not play any board game. They might be great at video games, but not much of an athlete, so they settle with what they’re good at and ignore the opportunity for growth in trying something they aren’t so good at.
One of the things I have noticed is that, often times, the kids that choose to not try anything new are kids who have been told they are great at certain things. When a kid hears they are great at something, they tend to lean on that as their only possibility for greatness.
They have not learned how to handle being semi-good or failure. Since they have not learned how to handle failure, they choose to avoid any possibility of experiencing it.
Also, many parents have allowed their kids to believe that someone else is responsible for their failure. So, if the kid does experience failure and there is no one to blame, then they shut down.
This is a rough way for kids today to grow up.
I don’t mean we can’t tell kids they are talented or great at something, but I do mean that we can’t allow them to avoid new things because they are afraid of failure.
This will translate in their workplace, their relationships, their marriage, and any other endeavor going forward….trust me!
We are being good parents when we uplift our kids, but we are being even better parents when we help them recognize their limitations don’t equate to the Berlin Wall.
They can fail, but still succeed. When a child or teenager discovers that it is ok to not be the best, their horizon expands. They can see beyond their greatness. They can discover new things, try them, and learn that they will keep doing it even if they aren’t the greatest.
I might not have been great at math, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop doing it and wait for someone else to do it for me. I might not be the best at basketball, but I will still “try” to play (mainly shoot wildly and make people laugh…because that’s what I’m good at) in order to have fun with my students and friends.
We will allow kids to achieve more in life by helping them realize they won’t achieve everything!
Maybe, we all can learn to handle failure in order to succeed?
May we remember we aren’t going to be the best at everything. May we remember our reaction to failure will set the tone for our kids ability to handle failure. May we strive to live freely to experience everything, even the things we won’t be the best at.
Peace and Blessings friends.
QUESTION: How do you handle failure?