I am curious to see how all of you have dealt with the concept and purpose of failure with your children.
Is failure acceptable? How much failure is acceptable? What kinds of failures are acceptable? How much responsibility is attributed to the child in the event of a failure.
I see my role as a mother in different lights at different times. The Protector role is the clear and obvious first choice. But how do you protect them from the emotional devastation of inevitable failures in life? I can barely handle my own failures, how can I demonstrate resilience to my daughters, if it turns out I’m just a paper tiger?
On the horizon of substantial impending failure for me, I contemplate these things. Where do I find my self-worth? What makes me ok to fail and still maintain my self-worth? As a rough individual, I am accustomed to failure, but some failures turn out to be substantially larger sticks thrown in the spokes of my self-propelled unicycle of life.
It makes it easier to hold a stiff upper lip when you have two impressionable princesses absorbing your every move. When you slam your toe into the side of the coffee table and you see Jesus for a second, you have to exhale loudly through your face hole and smile while your eyes water with all of the pain and possible expletives you’re holding back. “I’m good. I’m ok, it’s ok… doesn’t hurt that bad….: *welp*
But what about a failure that affects your whole family unit? What about a failure that changes the course of history for your family? How I deal with what is about to happen, will echo in my daughter’s minds and hearts for years to come. How do I want them to look back and see me? I have time to formulate my response. I have some valuable time to formulate my plan of damage control. So what do I do?
This is one of those failures that is going to leave a scar on my heart and mind. It will be a defining moment in time. Regret, self-loathing, self-pity, self-worth and pain are all involved here. What do I want them to see? Let’s think out loud together shall we?
Here are some things I’d like them to say one day if/when they look back on this:
- Mom worked so hard
- She sacrificed so much
- She didn’t let it get her down
- She always kept smiling
- Mom was the type of person who doesn’t let failures stop her
- She never gave up
- She tried to the bitter end
- It’s ok to try hard
- It’s ok to fail
- Failure is not fatal
- We still had a great life
- My mother is amazing
My tears are hot on my face right now. My heart is aching and hurting as I type this. I have learned a great deal about what not to do, and how not to do it. I’m not sure I will ever fully embrace my limitations. I don’t see myself getting any more pragmatic.
In light of my future failures, I am still holding out for that success that will dwarf the failures and put them in their proper place as foundational stepping stones and good stories to tell others one day. I may never become rich and famous, but I will have a good story to tell.
Main point: you should only consider yourself a failure if you quit trying altogether.
This will be a big stumble. Thank you for reading.