The Gift of Failure

By Stacy LaMorte

Do you know the best gift you can give your kids that spans every age group, gender and budget? The gift of failure. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

I do not claim to be a perfect parent, nor do I have perfect kids, but I do know that I have seen the power of kids learning from their mistakes, both as a parent and a teacher. Our oldest, who is away in her first semester in college, has met other students who have no coping skills and very few basic life skills.  She has thanked us for making her do things on her own and for herself.

Being a teacher before I became a mother, I had very high expectations of my fourth- and fifth-grade students. I would tell their parents that if their child left something at home, save themselves the trip to school to bring the items because it wouldn’t make it past the office.

I know this sounds harsh, but it was the only way to get that message through. The kids knew that the penalty would not be severe and, if it was their lunch they forgot, the school lunch was provided free of charge to each child so they wouldn’t go hungry.

Over the years, the parents thanked me profusely because, if their child did forget something, he or she usually only did it once.

Recently, one of my former students, who now has two children of his own, contacted me on Facebook to thank me because he thinks of these lessons when he prepares for his day the night before.

Don’t do things for your children that they can do for themselves. Even though they may complain now, they will thank you for it down the line!


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