Failure and Fortitude

clipart-heart-clip_art_illustration_of_a_red_heart_with_a_white_swirl_0071-0904-2000-1163_SMUThose poor millennials….they have such a bad rap.  People label them lazy, entitled, spoiled.  Armed with man buns, essential oils, and yoga pants, they could save the world…if only they would leave the coffee shop.  (Don’t be totally offended here, I know plenty of hard-working millennials too!!)  My question is…How did they get this way?  Was it their parents? Our culture? Did the school system fail them?  What’s the deal?  I taught this age group when they were in high school and do you know what I noticed?  They never learned how to handle failure and how could they when everyone got a trophy just for participating!  If they forgot assignments, mom rushed their missing work to school or better yet, did it for them.  If learning was hard, there was an excuse.  Prom had “promposals” and  dresses purchased  were nearly as expensive as my wedding dress.  Everyone took a limo to prom.  People peaked in high school.  What if high school was more about failing than peaking?  I don’t mean grades, but what if parents stepped back and stopped swooping in and saving their kids.  Let them starve if they forget lunch (and they won’t starve).  Take the zero for the missing assignment.  Let them make mistakes…even a few big ones.

I have a cousin that worked for a drug company.  For five years, her team did experiment after experiment in an attempt to creat a new drug candidate.  Guess what?  They got nothing.  As an outsider to the antibacterial world, one may think that her research was a five-year failure, but in their “failure” they actually made many discoveries and advanced the knowledge of their field.  Have you ever had a failure that led to a discovery?  Sometimes our failures, if we learn from them, can be the best learning experiences ever….. and actually cause us to gain fortitude.  Fortitude is “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.” (Webster’s Ninth New College Dictionary)  I used to mountain bike.  I crashed…a lot…sometimes I got hurt too. But with every crash, I learned a little bit more about terrain, and how to use my brakes, gears, and my body to be a better biker.  I got stronger physically and mentally.  My encouragement to you is this:  Let your kids fail even if it embarrass them and you. When your kids fail, don’t assume it is a failure of your parenting.  Many  times, it is just them being childish or foolish.  The natural consequences of failing can be the best teacher in the long run.  Failure, when there is learning gained, can lead to  fortitude.   I don’t know about you,but we could use a few more people  with a whole lot of FORTITUDE.

TIP: Let ’em Fail!

2 thoughts on “Failure and Fortitude

  1. Elspeth says:

    Loved this post as I have experienced this with my seventh grader these past couple of weeks. He has experienced zeros on a couple of assignments because he didn’t want to do it ( excuses were given to me) so he is seeing the consequences of what happens when you don’t do your assignments ( your grade drops and you have a hole to dig out of to raise your grade). Letting them fail now, will help them later in life when things weigh even more with possible bigger consequences. Thanks for this post, more parents need to let their kids fail, parents need to get past themselves and remember God’s true calling on us as parents.


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