I’m talking to you, there’s no need to look over your shoulder weirdly wondering who I’m referring to.
As far as I’m aware there’s no one else here but you and me.
We are in our own little bubble, and inside this little bubble I just want to share a little secret with you.
That secret is that failure is totally an option.
There’s a famous quote in that film about the Apollo 13 spacecraft where they need to rescue some people from space and this one guys very dramatically says ‘Failure is not an option.’
The truth is that that is a bunch of baloney bull sh****.
(if you’re wondering why there are 4 asterisks in that word it’s because I find when you swear it’s way more satisfying to say the word for longer. So there’s a couple of extra i’s in there. A swear word is like a good wine, you gotta allow it time to swill around in your mouth.)
In life, failure is an option.
We are so conditioned by society to view failure negatively. We are surrounded by negative reinforcement for failure..If we fail at school, we get held back, if we fail at work we get fired etc.
But the truth is that failure is actually a stepping stone to moving forward, to learning new things, to growth.
We fail 100s of times a day.
Are you aware of that?
When you spilled that coffee, you failed to hold the cup correctly.
When you accidentally tripped over the rug, you failed to walk over the rug.
When you misspelled that word, well…you catch my drift.
Our day is as littered by failures and mistakes, as my son’s floor is littered with lego pieces.
If we were not allowed to fail we would die, because we would stagnate.
We have to have failure to have learning and success.
Just think about how many time a baby “fails”.When they learn to walk, they fall down. But they get back up.
They learnt something when they fell. They learnt that the coffee table they were trying to navigate their way around has an edge that they need to twist to the left to get around, or that they need to swerve when the dog comes charging at them to lick their face or else they’ll fall down again.
So love-heart. It is okay to fail. It is okay to stumble.
And it is part of every day life.
And the every day lives of our children.
What are we teaching our children about failure? Are we teaching them, without meaning to, to strive for perfection? Because society is so failure-averse? Perfection doesn’t exist, because thankfully we are human. To err is human, right?
So if we are teaching our children that perfection is good, and mistakes are bad, what are we teaching them about themselves?
What happens when they get things wrong? Make mistakes?
Do they themselves become “wrong” or “bad” or “unacceptable”?
It’s important that our children grow up accepting themselves, and loving themselves for who they are.
Teaching them that it’s okay to fail and that it’s part of every day life, makes this more likely.
Does this mean we teach our kids to give up and stop striving to learn and improve?
No of course not. It just teaches them to say ‘fuck it.’ and get back up again (the swearing part is optional).
It’s time to start celebrating our mistakes, rather than just our successes, because when we made a mistake it means we TRIED. It means we dared, we risked, we lived.
And if that’s not why we are here, then what the hell is?
Failure just means we learnt something and are on the way to something else.
I hope you are having a beautiful weekend.
The unusual parenting coach.