A common misconception is that failure is the opposite of success. Although we should know better, it is too easy to fall short, give up and never get back up.
Watching a parent introduce a child to an activity, such as baseball, for the first time is enlightening. Often, the child will strike out at first and become impatient, frustrated and even emotional. When that child is restless and defeated enough, it is likely that parent will remind the child that “Practice makes perfect,” or “That was only your first time.” In other words, that parent is saying that success is not easily attained without a little failure along the way.
Parent Lynn Kaisan said, “What I would like my child to know about overcoming failure is that we all have the fortitude in each of us to overcome failure. There are some parents who unsuccessfully attempt to shield their children from all failure; they will do whatever possible not to have their child experience failure. This rearing will lead the child to think that the parent does not have confidence in them to face challenges.
“For me, while I surely would not set my child up for failure, I would also not go out of my way to shield her. I would offer options, point out alternatives and advise the adverse outcomes, but the choice is for the child to make,” said Kaisan.
Some activities are more challenging than others and fraught with multiple failures, including playing a musical instrument.
English teacher, Chloe Smith, said, “With failure comes learning. You have to accept that things will not always go accordingly and take it upon yourself to get right back up. I challenge myself to see that there is opportunity out there, and often success lies in whether or not I pursue that opportunity.
“For me, I have struggled especially with the Spanish language. Going to another country and realizing that I am not as good as I thought hurt and discouraged me. But, being in an environment that forced me to use the language every single day helped me to push my communication skills. By the time that I was ready to leave the country, my Spanish was still far from perfect, but I had gained much confidence from the experience,” said Smith.
Although it often does not feel like it at the time, adversity has an odd way of strengthening people. It is common for us to feel the most vulnerable and weakest while facing obstacles, but working through problems and getting through the process helps us to feel good about achievements and build the confidence and inner strength we need to see ourselves through the next difficulty.