3 Ways to Prepare Your Kids for Failure

Mentoring Teens Series

So I realize that the first baby is like the first batch of cookies. Either too crispy or too mushy and really brown on the edges. However, I can’t ignore the huge gift my first Smelly Monster has given me…. TONS of great blog stories! LOL!

There are some things that only church kids understand. We bought Micah a Potato Head toy and heBro Potato head loved it and insisted on calling it Bro. Potato Head rather than Mr. Potato Head. Cliff had a lot of fun with that!

I know that Caleb almost died several times while Micah “baptized” him in our pool.

There was nothing more sacred than the “flippy Bible” around our house. It was the reason the boys were sword drill champions!

Micah was born competitive and raised to win. (My fault!) Recently during dinner, the kids (Frink-Jones Gang) were laughing and telling stories about the cup stacking phase that went through our church. It was a game they played upstairs in the children’s ministry for “fun.” When that phase started, Micah came home and told me about the new game. We went directly to the teacher supply store (Amazon wasn’t really around back then) and bought a set of “official” cups so that he could practice during the week. He watched the training video and practiced for hours each day so that he could win. Hanna loves this part of the story. Micah showed up to junior church ready to take everyone on in cup stacking. Hanna beat him soundly every time. This is amazing since Hanna is not known to be overly athletic or coordinated. (Sorry Hanna but I have seen you try to do a cartwheel!) Losing to Hanna obviously was a big blow to Micah’s emotional psyche and he has challenged Hanna to a rematch. I’ll keep you posted!

Failure is a natural (and needed) part of every child’s life. I didn’t really understand this until I put the boys in school. After home schooling for 7 years, they were very indignant over any red marks on their papers. It was a big adjustment for them to realize that they might miss something and get it marked wrong! Here are 3 ways we can help our kids prepare for big and small failures in their lives:

  1. Accept responsibility! Own it! We all mess up. That isn’t the issue. How we handle things WHEN we mess up is what matters. Always accept responsibility. Too many people in our society blame everyone else for their issues and keep the “victim mentality.” Life isn’t fair and we can’t control everything. However, the one thing we can control is how we respond. When you own it, you can change it! Once you accept responsibility you can do things differently the next time.
  2. Be thankful. Even in failure, there are blessings. Take the time to dwell on those before you throw the pity party. Failure gives us context for our next try. Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.” Help your kids to recognize the learning that happens in failure.
  3. Do something different! Once you own the failure and you put it into context, you HAVE to make changes so that you don’t repeat history and fail again. You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect different results. If your child doesn’t get up on time and you have to wake them up, go over what they can do to change the next morning’s results. Maybe they need to get a louder ring tone or move their phone/clock across the room. Whatever the change, they need to take action.

A person is only as successful as their response to their failures. Our kids will fail. Help them learn to fail with grace and learn and grow. I wish that missing points on a math test were the only failures we have had to face but we all know those are small potatoes. Use those small failures to help your kids learn to fail so that they can bring honor to God in ALL they do!