There is a huge difference between failing at something and being a failure as a person. There are no failures. Everyone is learning and making mistakes is part of this process. We learn the most by making mistakes and failing.
Is failing accepted as part of the learning process at schools? Or are children taught to evaluate themselves and their success in terms of external achievement? Are children so focused on receiving the highest grade, the most gold stars, awards, trophies etc, instead of the internal satisfaction of learning something new or mastering a new skill?
It seems we are setting our children up to fear failure, through this focus of winning at all costs. Could the reason for such high rates in youth suicide and depression be put down to young people evaluating their
self-worth on external measures of success rather than inner satisfaction. Looking for happiness in things rather than it being a part of who they are.
I hear parents saying to their children 'I'll give you $10 if you win', and all the time not thinking of the consequences this holds for their children's inner sense of enjoyment for a sport they may love. Winning at all costs, instead of for the fun and the skills they are learning every time they play. What happens when that child loses? Do they call themselves a 'loser', because failure isn't accepted or do they work out ways to enhance their skills for the next game? What are we modelling as parents? Are we all 'losers' when we fail at something? Can anyone ever win all the time?
Wayne Dyer states, 'the more we teach achievement at the expense of inner satisfaction, the more we teach youngsters to take the easier path and to avoid the failure label'.
We are forgetting that the REAL 'winners' in the world are the people who have failed a lot and learnt from these failures to better themselves in their given area of talent. Not through comparing themselves to others , but having their own measure of inner excellence and goals.
Natural learning allows children the opportunity to enhance that inner sense of achievement, free from external judgements.
Presently, my son Finn (7 years old) enjoys and learns a lot from creating factual books on dinosaurs. Drawing the pictures, researching information, writing basic facts about their size, what they eat. Also drawing maps of the world to show where their fossils have been found. He spends hours, creating, researching and putting these together. He shines with a sense of achievement and joy upon completion. This seems to be reward enough for him.
Nothing was designed to please us in anyway. This book was created purely as an extension of Finn's interest in dinosaurs and his passion for drawing and books.
We share in his joy by sitting with him and listening as he reads his book. There are NO corrections of spelling, grammer and certainly NO mark or gold star for his creation. His creative process allows for failings, and there were many drawings disgarded and words rewritten. Yet he seems to just know he will draw it differently next time, therefore learning from his own mistakes.
Failing is a part of any creative process. There have been many a burnt cake or less-than-yummy meals over the years, while trying to master the art of baking and cooking. Yet, as I understand the nature of failing, I know that this is an inevitable part of the learning process and I embrace it and accept myself just where I am.
But if we are afraid of failing and teach this to our children, then maybe they will never try things that will bring amazing depth and richness to their lives.
Wayne Dyer states 'If we train our children to go after achievement and ignore inner satisfaction, then we are teaching them to take the easy path, to be more concerned about opinions and rewards .... and consequently to avoid any hint of failing'.
So lets go out and fail......it's ok.....it will lead us to our success.