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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

The Hardest Lesson to Teach Your Child

The hardest lesson to teach a child is how to fail. It’s especially hard because we don’t want to teach our children how to fail, because we don’t want them to fail.

Here are the problems with that:

1. Failure is part of success, so teaching our children to be successful requires that we teach them: how to fail, how to learn from failure, and most of all, to get back up and try again.

2. By not teaching our children how to fail, we actually teach them that it isn’t okay to fail. This is one of the most disastrous beliefs a child can carry, because when children believe it’s not okay to fail, they often don’t even participate… and as parents we want our children to participate fully in life.

3. Children who are not taught how to fail, mistakenly believe “If I fail, I am a failure.” And it isn’t a matter of if they will fail, but when they will failure. It’s just part of life.

And just as a child can make the mistake of drawing their identity from their successes or failures, as parents we can make the same mistake. We don’t want our children to fail, because we think it reflects badly on us and fear judgement. But the first principle of parenting is: it’s not about us, it’s about them.

Here’s the bottom line: Failure is part of success. Learning to fail and get back up is an essential life lesson. A child that fails is not a failure. And you are not your child’s failures.

Matthew Kelly

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