Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will
I wrote earlier this week about key life lessons I would like to instil in my children, and this quote I chanced upon recently sums up one of them perfectly.
It’s so easy to be overprotective of our children, with the understandable desire to keep them free from harm and the bitter sting of failure which can puncture their confidence. But where does concern end and mollycoddling begin?
When support becomes smothering, when we do things for our children rather than teach them, and when we stigmatise failure rather than use it as a springboard for learning – then we’re doing more harm than good as parents.
It’s like teaching your child to ride a bike, isn’t it? At some point the stabilisers have to come off and they will either succeed immediately or gain valuable experience from which they will soon learn.
But knowing when is the ‘right’ time to take the metaphorical stabilisers off and allow for the possibility of failure is one of the toughest calls a parent has to make – and one for which there is no instruction manual.
One thing is for sure, though. If a child (or, indeed, an adult) never strays beyond the comfort zone of what they already know they can do, then their scope for growth is limited. To risk failure is to acknowledge that there is something out there worth striving to achieve, something that makes us more than who we are. And what right-thinking parent doesn’t want that for their child?
Failure is something from which we can discover more about ourselves than those occasions when we succeed, so it is something to be embraced for the learning opportunity it provides. In that sense, failure is a good thing.