Failure: an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success; nonperformance of something due, required or expected.
Failure is generally not a word we like to hear; however, a lot of growth can occur when we fail at something. It can lead to skill development, and also to success. Jessica Lahey, educator, speaker, and writer, wrote a book in 2015 called “The Gift of Failure,” which explores parenting around failure and helping children to succeed. This New York Times bestseller provides excellent feedback that can help parents at home and in an academic environment. As a parent of two lower schoolers, I’ve found her advice to be helpful and also lead to some reflection and revisitation of some of the practices that I’ve used at home. A particular passage that resonated with me reads, “Every time we rescue, hover, or otherwise save our children from a challenge, we send a very clear message: that we believe they are incompetent, incapable, and unworthy of our trust. Further, we teach them to be dependent on us and thereby deny them the very education in competence we are put here on this earth to hand down.”
Don’t be afraid to let your child appropriately struggle, to let your child forget something at home because you didn’t pack it for them, or not bring something to school on their behalf. This is very hard to do, and yes, I am guilty of it, too. It’s up to us as parents and educators to provide the freedom to fail and to then transform this failure and challenge into a successful moment and learning experience.