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Kids Need To Fail

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I think it’s important for kids to fail.

No really. Hear me out. I’m not saying I want kids to fail all the time and never succeed, but did you know that failure and success are not mutually exclusive?

Claire has always been good at everything, right away: Academics, Ballet, Karate, Swimming, you name it. There was just a slight learning curve at some things, but for the most part, she was a rock-star from Day One.

What’s it like to not be the first?
What’s it like to be the last?
What’s it like to fail?
And fail?
And fail?

How will you know that the important thing is not the fall but the ability to get up?
And again?
And again?

Speaking of which, I’m not an ice skater. I’ve been told by my parents that I ice skated when I was 3 years old and loved it. I have really no solid recollection of that. I tried to take Claire ice skating in Beaver Creek in April (probably almost exactly 34 years later), but what ensued was not what I could classify as ice skating, per se. We had a great time laughing at ourselves, but Claire was itching to go and do and learn more, but I had no skills to teach her.

We’d said that when the opportunity arose for her to learn from a professional, we’d take it. So, Claire is learning to ice skate. I was offered a handy-dandy little coupon at the local Rec Center for her to try it out for the month at a discounted rate, so there you go.

Guess what! Finally, we’ve found something at which Claire is not the best, and I’m SO GLAD. No, really! She’s not the first across the ice. She’s not the most skilled.

She’s normal, and it’s eating her alive.

She’s learning one of life’s hardest lessons right now, and I couldn’t be prouder.

Soon, she’ll catch on and be zipping across the ice with the rest of them, but she’ll know what it’s like to fail. She’ll know what it’s like to not be the best at something. She’ll know what it really means to fall and how it feels to get up.

And again.

Author: JoAnn

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  • comment avatar Lori Lavender Luz December 7, 2011

    Learning to get back up from falling down is an important life skill — in so many ways.

    Way to go for both you and Claire!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson December 7, 2011

    I happen to be well-versed in failure and highly recommend it. 🙂

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson December 7, 2011

    I think it’s true, though. As parents, it’s our responsibility to expose our kids to a variety of different opportunities. Some will take, others won’t. I’d much rather have my kids fail now and learn how to deal with it than pamper them so much that when they get out in the real world, they’re at a loss as to how to cope.

  • comment avatar Mary-Frances Main December 7, 2011

    And it’s hard not to know you’re going to be the best. my daughter still struggles with that!

  • comment avatar Melissa Taylor December 7, 2011

    I totally agree – Blessings of a Skinned Knee. 🙂

  • comment avatar Heather Buckner December 7, 2011

    I feel that learnig to be a good loser is just as important as learning to be a good winner.

  • comment avatar Gretchen White December 7, 2011

    Tons of wisdom here. We call it the School of Hard Knocks.

    Are her lessons at the Apex? My niece, who is 7, takes lessons there and competes, too.

  • comment avatar Jenny - Monkey Toes December 7, 2011

    this is so true true true!!

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  • comment avatar Christina December 8, 2011

    I completely agree. If you are interested I posted a blog with a great article link to a New York Times article that expands on the need for failure in order to be a success. Here’s the link to that blog post:


  • comment avatar Ariella Rogge December 8, 2011

    Love it! Perseverance is becoming a rare trait and a greater skill we can help our children learn. Thank you for sharing!

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