Failure’s Top Ten List

1.  Not Everybody Gets A Trophy

Somewhere along the line we became a society that preached instant gratification. Like a giant carnival, our slogan became “everybody wins all the time.” We know it’s not true. It’s also a terrible example to set. Losing is every bit as important in human growth as winning. Rewarding your child for doing nothing will teach him just that. Nothing.

2.  Everyone Has Different Talents

Maybe your daughter wants to be the next Carrie Underwood. Then you hear her sing. Your son wants to be Evan Longoria. He can’t hit the ball off a tee. There are just some things we aren’t cut out for. It’s best to learn that at an early age. The good news is that they are a champion at something. Guide them towards where their gifts lie.

3.  Have Class

What is one of the most flattering descriptions a person can hear? “He sure has a lot of class.” “She sure was a great sport about it.” Are you teaching your children how to fail with dignity? How a person accepts failure is an easy indicator of the character within. It also almost guarantees future success. Respect is gained outwardly and inwardly. Coach Dungy is prime example of “class.”

4.  Learning From Mistakes

“I think and think for months. For years. Ninety-nine times the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.” Who said that? Albert Einstein. Mistakes humble. They can hurt. Yet without them, we are stagnant. Every mistake we make is an educational experience. Every success is built upon a foundation of errors and corrections.

5.  Teaching Others

When we fail, we gain experience. It’s important to share that knowledge. Coach Dungy is well-known for mentoring others who have found trouble in life. Instill in your children the responsibility to share their mistakes in hopes to save another from making the same.

6.  Leave It All On The Field

How can it be considered failure if we gave every bit of ourselves in effort? It can’t. Boxing legend Joe Frazier once said, “If I lose, I’ll walk away and never feel bad because I did all I could.  There was nothing more to do.” The most common phrase in sports has to be “leave it all on the field!” Explain to your kids to never cheat themselves on effort and they will always gain from it. No matter the outcome.

7.  Perseverance

Dust yourself off and get back on that horse. Determination wins many victories. We should not allow our children to give up on themselves. Maybe your son has brought home two straight failing test grades in math. He thinks there is no way he will ever get it. Help him pick himself back up. Try once more. Do whatever it takes to make it work. Perseverance will eventually lead to positive results and a lifelong lesson never to be forgotten.

8.  Know How To Win

It might sound obvious, but knowing how to win is the easiest way not to lose. For instance, your son is selling popcorn for the Boy Scouts. He knocks on two hundred random doors and sells twenty packages in four hours. A lot of effort for little gain. The next day he sets up a stand in front a busy grocery store. Uniform on. Charm intact. He sells two hundred packages in a single hour. Which was the most successful tactic? Game planning is an essential part of a successful life.

9.  Definition Of Success

Looking into the future, what do you wish for your son? I’m guessing happiness tops that list. He’s a respected and honest man. Has a loving wife and a family of his own. I highly doubt you would look into the future and hope he has an awesome car. He has seven hot girlfriends. He’s shallow and in it for the money. Yet, that is exactly what is marketed at him.  Eternal failure. Society teaches shallowness to be equal to success. As a parent, it is up to you to define what success truly is. It is a battle that you must win.

10.  Sense Of Humor

“Wow, I really messed that up!” Your daughter laughs as she explains how she meant to dye her hair a lighter shade and it turned out bright orange. There are times in life we are going to do really stupid things. The ability to laugh about it sure makes those moments a lot easier to deal with. When you make mistakes in front of your kids, set that example. Don’t curse and scream at the sky. Just shake your head and laugh. It happens.

*** This entry is 100% the work of All Pro Dad, an excellent website devoted to helping Dads be better than they once were.  Thank you, APD!

Author: Andy Kerckhoff

I'm a husband, father, teacher. I'm doing my best, wishing I could do better, and trying to help others to effectively lead kids through early adolescence.

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