Monday, September 18, 2017


Whoever said, "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE",  has lost touch with the planet earth!


Of course there IS such a thing as failure. It is in the dictionary and it means ‘non-performance of something due or expected’. You can’t gloss over the word and call it something else just because society thinks it is a dirty word. If you refuse to accept the word ‘failure’ you are basically saying that you will not accept that you did not meet the criteria, did not make the grade, or did not meet your expectations. That is life, so get over it!

Not admitting failure is senseless and a product of our indulgent culture. It just means we are not allowing ourselves to learn from the experience and not teaching our children how to deal with  meeting the requirements – whatever they are.

When we were in high school in New Zealand we had to pass a State-wide set of exams the last two years. Only 50% were allowed to pass so that meant an automatic 50% failure rate. It made us work very hard and we all knew that if we didn’t make it, we had to repeat the whole school year again. I repeated one year! My husband, Brian, repeated a year. His two brothers repeated a year. This is reality – the real world. It didn’t really hurt us, although of course we were very disappointed in our own performances. It dented our pride and we wasted a year that we could have been earning. Strangely enough it did us all good because we all ended up going to University, attaining degrees and moving on to great careers.

If we don’t learn early that there are consequences for not meeting expectations, then we will never make it in the adult work world. We will always be making excuses that it was someone else’s fault. No it isn’t. When we put in the hard yards we can enjoy the results.

Now, there are times when we have little choice over whether we win or lose. We can train vigorously for a race, but we cannot guarantee we will be the winner. It is wrong for parents to give kids the message that if you are not the winner, YOU FAILED. That is NOT true! We should not compare ourselves with others, but check ourselves against our own performance. If we are beating our own times, then we are achieving.


a) Accept that there is such a word. Call it what it is.
b) Acknowledge the disappointment, but show your kids how failing this time doesn’t mean
    failing every time. Help your kids learn from the experience and show them how to improve their
    chances next time. Help them set goals for improvement and reward the small steps.
c) Don't shy away from expecting great things from your kids. They love meeting your expectations
    as long as you show them how.
d) Celebrate success, but also celebrate effort.
e) Be a great role model. Be a parent that is pushing the envelope. When you don't succeed as
    expected, talk to your kids about it and show them what you are doing to succeed next time.
e) Do not accept defeat. Our young grandsons' motto is 'Never Give Up!'

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families

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