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I Want My Kids to Fail

March 5, 2012

Heinlein Quote

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do. – John Stuart Mill

I want my kids to fail.  That probably isn’t at the top of your list for your kids, but it should be.  Failure is one of the most important experiences they will ever have.  The road to success is paved with failure because failure teaches us how to succeed.

I want my kids to fail.  It is only when they fail that they have an opportunity to pick themselves back up.  It is only when they fail that they learn to work hard.  It is only when they fail that they learn what doesn’t work.  It is only when they fail that they learn that sometimes people need help.  It is only when they fail that they learn empathy for others struggling.   It is only when they fail that they learn that life is not always fair.  It is only when they fail that they understand what being human is.

I want my kids to fail, but not to the point that they can’t emotionally continue.  Right now I am there to help provide a pep talk, spend time working with them to succeed, and tell them that I believe they can succeed if they continue to try.  But I will not always be able to be there, so this motivation needs to become internalized so that they succeed even if no one else believes in them.

I want my kids to fail, but not to the point where they cannot afford to feed, shelter, and clothe themselves.  While they are under my care is a time that the consequences of failure are not threatening to their health and welfare.  This is the time to learn through failure how to succeed.

I want my kids to fail in the classroom.  This is true education!  I don’t want them to believe that success is easy, but when a child is bright enough to learn with minimal effort and is rewarded with A’s for that, they come to believe that hard work isn’t needed for success.  I want them to struggle, to not always succeed on the first try – or the twentieth, to learn that asking for help is not a sign of weakness or lack of intelligence, and to see that success is often a long process.

I want my kids to fail.  That is one reason we supplement their education at home.  Our kindergartner has learned through doing second grade math, which she can find challenging, that there is a strong correlation between the effort she puts in and how her quiz scores are.  When she has a rough quiz, she often chooses to do three or four practices so that her next quiz will be better.  This drive will take her further than her natural intelligence.

I want my kids to fail – and you should want yours to also.  If your children are struggling, help them to learn to succeed.  Don’t make success easy for them, but teach them the skills they need to succeed.  If your children are not struggling at times in school, ask why not.  Ask for curriculum that challenges them and makes them work for their grades.  Learning how to fail is one of the most important skills they will ever learn.

I want my kids to fail.  It is how they will learn to succeed.

Thank you for reading Rochester SAGE.  Together we can make a difference for advanced & gifted students!

Authored by Joshua Raymond
Author’s note: I have received many requests by educators and administrators to distribute this work to parents.  Please feel free to do so, but include the following line “Authored by Joshua Raymond of Rochester SAGE,”  Thank you!

A French translation by Simon-Pierre Butsana can be found here.

The Importance of Gifted Education Series
I. Why I Am Passionate About Gifted Education
II. Why Is Gifted Education Necessary?
III.  Is Gifted Education Equal Education?
IV. Is Gifted Education Expensive?

V. How Does Gifted Education Help Everyone?

VI. What Are Characteristics of a Gifted Child?

VII. Why Grades Don’t Matter to Me
VIII. The Procrustean Bed of Education
IX. The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations
X. I Want My Kids to Fail

Thank you to all the people who took the time to read, comment, and share this post!  I’m very glad that a few of my thoughts could be relevant to you.

397 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 1:19 PM

    Well, me too. I want my kids to get poor because no matter how much I’d tell them for example to value their money, they wouldn’t learn it the way I want them to do so if they haven’t experienced it themselves. Experience is the best teacher after all.

    • March 7, 2012 9:19 AM

      Living on very little income in college taught me a lot. I learned to be wise with my money. By continuing to apply the lessons I learned then, we have avoided many of the pitfalls I’ve seen friends and relatives experience. Even though we bought at the top of the housing bubble, we have never had worries about losing our house. We are not weighed down by credit cards. Being poor-ish was definitely a needed learning experience!

  2. Anjum Ahmed permalink
    March 6, 2012 1:19 PM

    As James Dyson said

    • March 6, 2012 10:47 PM

      This is pretty rad, thanks for the share.

    • March 7, 2012 9:22 AM

      Dyson certainly has learned that overcoming failure can lead to great success!

    • kayleigh18 permalink
      March 7, 2012 2:14 PM

      Love this video! It compliments the post really well, nice choice.
      Also, really enjoyed this post. Some kids don’t encounter failure until later on in their school lives when it’s really difficult to deal with after being so successful in the past. I think it’s good to challenge kids, they learn to think for themselves and acquire amazing determination.

  3. March 6, 2012 1:20 PM

    My kids fail all the time, despite the fact (or perhaps because of the fact) they are both in GATE programs, Failure truly opens the door to future success…

    Heck, I fail, too. This is life, and I want them to learn to navigate the failures more than they rest on their successes.

    Beautiful post! 🙂

  4. March 6, 2012 1:23 PM

    Reblogged this on Kingdom of Azuria Events and commented:
    Excellent article. A must read for moms and dads.

  5. March 6, 2012 1:24 PM

    So true. It is such a shame that our government (UK) fail to understand that failure is a key element in both education and life in general. There is too much molly coddling these days by the authorities and schools where they seem so obsessed with avoiding failure that competitions are now banned as they produce too much ‘stress’ on the child. My wife and I have even experienced a primary school that gives medals to all participants in an event so that none feel that they have failed……

    Great post 🙂

  6. March 6, 2012 1:29 PM

    I have a younger member in my church choir who has Asperger’s and hates practicing. So I tell him that practice time is when we find our mistakes and make the song better before performance time. Good post and congrats on being pressed.

  7. March 6, 2012 1:30 PM

    Good words, pearls of wisdom, thanks for sharing this. I just find it hard to watch my teenage kids not even caring much when they fail. And THIS is scary, this attitude of “whatever”. I hope when their brains finally make the right connections, they will fail and learn how to succeed.

  8. March 6, 2012 1:37 PM

    thank you for sharing this. adults can learn from this too! we all need our share of failures to learn from and appreciate true success.

  9. March 6, 2012 1:41 PM

    I remember a psychologist once telling us that he made his son’s teacher grade his assignment as a zero, to see what his reaction would be, and to see if he would do better the next go round.

    Failure is part of life. The worst possible thing to do is to feel ‘like’ a failure, because you’re really not. There are going to be times in life where you make mistakes, mess things up, and not because you intended to, or because you lacked effort, but because that’s the way it goes sometimes.

    This was a fantastic and interesting post. I hope you post something like this again soon. 🙂

  10. March 6, 2012 1:46 PM

    This is Great! I never thought of it this way. Kids today have it way to easy. Brilliant!

  11. obsidianfactory permalink
    March 6, 2012 1:46 PM

    This is a great post! 😉

    • March 6, 2012 6:53 PM

      Wow! This is exactly what all parents need to learn and embrace! It is a great post indeed! I re-blogged before I read the whole thing! I have an entire chapter in my book “The Best Thing” dedicated to this subject and our point of view. Congrats on FP! AmberLena

      • March 8, 2012 2:27 AM

        I agree! I wish my mom wasn’t boxed to the old cultural traditions of being overly conservative and so much of a provider

  12. March 6, 2012 1:48 PM

    This is an excellent blog. I completely agree with you! My oldest is a straight A student but she gets that grade without putting in much effort. I worry about her in the long run! What you say is so true! Thank you! Great post!

    • March 7, 2012 9:25 AM

      That was me too. The effort is so much more important than the grade! You are right to be worried. Everyone has to fail at some point. It is part of life and it is much better to learn to overcome it when you are younger.

  13. March 6, 2012 1:49 PM

    I’m thankful to my mom for embracing failure in me .. That’s why now I can fly. Maybe it wasn’t fare at times and I felt sorry for myself, but all my success I owe to failure.. Great post! Parents need to let their child fail more often and encourage them to follow their passions. Love & Light EL

  14. March 6, 2012 1:50 PM

    Great post – I couldn’t agree more!

  15. March 6, 2012 1:52 PM

    I too believe in the same ideology. One thing that a parent must realize that howmuch we want we canot protect our children…

  16. March 6, 2012 1:56 PM

    I despised my parents at times growing up, but I got some pretty good life lessons too (i.e. failure, independence, emotional intelligence and maturity, life is not fair, etc.). Thanks for sharing & Congrats on being FP!

  17. March 6, 2012 1:56 PM

    hell yes

  18. March 6, 2012 1:57 PM

    I love this! My parents did JUST this with me. They did not do it with my brother and while every child is different, I think that was the reason.

  19. March 6, 2012 1:59 PM

    Reblogged this on BelieveHopeLoveInspire and commented:
    I find too find that failure is essential to learning and succeeding. I often say that FAIL= First Time In Learning. When we fail, we learn from the mistakes we did, and it gives us the oppertunity to try again, this time differently. I believe that by failing, we learn different ways of succeeding. People who have never really failed at anything in their lifetime have never tried anything new, or may only know one way of solving things, doing things. I would say that I have failed many classes many times, but the second time around, I was was able to understand the material better, I learned from my mistakes and only failure motivated me to do better, and try even harder.

  20. March 6, 2012 2:07 PM

    You know, at first when I began reading this post, I was holding my breath, thinking, “What the…..who is this?” I am sure that I was being triggered by my own childhood. I grew up with an alcoholic mother who took pride in the fact that she didn’t teach us to do anything… in a sense, she was setting us up to fail. Then as your post went on, you talked about how you will be there to support your kids in working harder and smarter as they fail, so that they may learn to succeed. As I read, I released my breath. “Oh good,” I thought. I agree with your post too. Though I didn’t have a parent to guide me along an empowering path when I was young, I do believe that the Universe set me up with lots of life lessons to fail, so that I may learn to have empathy, compassion, strength and vulnerabiltity (and a plethora of other things). I’m proud of myself for taking my “Failures” or Lemons and turning them into stepping stones to success so that I may work to cherish today and create a better life for myself and those around me tomorrow.

    Though I didn’t see where your words were going at the beginning of this post and was sort of experiencing a dysfunctional relationship with your blog, I am glad that by the middle-end, I learned something about myself and saw how cool it is that you want to assist your kids as best you can to become the best they can be on the journey of life.

    Thank you for sharing your words. 🙂

    • March 7, 2012 10:10 AM

      Currie Rose, I certainly wanted to choose a blog title that would make people wonder. I knew people in three different groups: (1) failing without parental support, (2) failing with parental support to overcome failure, and (3) succeeding with parental support that never allowed them to fail. It seems that success comes best to group 2, depends on personality for group 1, and is tough for group 3. I am glad that you were able to take your failures and create success out of them. Well done!

    • Vina Kent permalink
      March 7, 2012 5:20 PM

      I would have to agree. At first I wasn’t sure where you were going with this, but afterward found the tone and was able to stick with it. As an abused child, I can also say I’ve made my fair share of mistakes that my parents could care less about holding my hand for. It was like here, silver platter full of mistakes… make them… then you’ll know all there is to know about life. It sucked having to raise myself and go through the things I’ve gone through, but I believe its made me who I am today… I am successful and I am having my dreams come true. So I can say that if theres at least one thing my parents did right, it was by not caring to parent and let me make the mistakes I made on my own. Not saying every parent should do that….As a parent myself, I am involved with everything my kids do, girl scouts, soccer, dance, everything. And while I hold their hand for some things, there are some things I simply just let them learn on their own too. Having a teenager, well… I’m learning to pick my battles when it comes to this topic. I’d like to hold my daughters hand and say, No go this way, or try it like this… but I know I cant 😦

  21. March 6, 2012 2:09 PM

    As a former Principal, it is so hard to convince parents of this concept. They want their kids to be successful at everything, so often they do it for them or ask us to lower standards. Thanks for saying the obvious.

  22. Garrie Madison Stoutimore permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:10 PM

    Bravo! A steady diet of success is like a steady diet of chocolate cake. It tastes great in the beginning but after awhile all it does for you is make you fat and lazy. The trick is to teach our kids that just because they fail, they are not failures.

  23. March 6, 2012 2:12 PM

    This is so true. I was one of the kids that everything came easy to, until i was eighteen and did poorly in my final high school exams and failed to get into medical school. Nine years later – and less than 24 hours away from my final medical school exam! – I can honestly say that that failure was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It taught me how to work, how to motivate myself, and that the stuff that’s worth having doesn’t ever come easy and is all the sweeter for it.

  24. March 6, 2012 2:13 PM

    I LOVE THIS! I am a retired teacher; I retired so I could homeschool our four children and give them EXACTLY this opportunity. Sorry for the shouting, but I am terribly excited to hear someone else say this.

  25. Momina Mela permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:18 PM

    I failed the 9th grade because I couldn’t do math, physics, chemistry and biology. I wanted to do Literature. Nevertheless, now I am studying Literature at University level abroad. 🙂 your post made me happy

  26. March 6, 2012 2:20 PM

    I wholeheartedly agree! Just had a whirlwind discussion about redshirting on my blog. Kids can’t learn if everything is given to them. Thanks for starting another great discussion.

  27. Sergio Garcia permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:23 PM

    Love this, very true!

  28. March 6, 2012 2:29 PM

    Wow, this is a powerful post. Although it sounds harsh, I totally agree with you. Kids (and people in general for that matter) are becoming used to being rewarded for everything and a trophy just for tying their shoes. Not to say that we shouldn’t celebrate accomplishments of youth, but there’s a fine line between that and pacifying. I believe people instinctively don’t try as hard when they know for there’s a safety net there to catch them. All of this from someone who has no kids, lol….great post.

  29. March 6, 2012 2:30 PM

    Brilliant point! Without falling down we never learn to walk. And congrats on Freshly Pressed. Great post.

  30. Raaj Trambadia permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:35 PM

    Very true and inspiring !! After all, you don’t learn to ride a bicycle until you fall !! Failure is a part of success in any field my dear 🙂 Gr8 post !! Cheers

    And please check out my latest post on love & relationship –

    And even my new PhotoBlog –

  31. gingerjudgesyou permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:35 PM

    Love this post! Wish more parents felt this way.

  32. March 6, 2012 2:36 PM

    There is a big difference between WANTING your child to fail and teaching them how to handle failure when it comes, as it inevitably does to all of us throughout our lives. You don’t need to set them up for it, sir. There’s something a bit sadistic about the stated desire and I might try looking at some unconscious fear you may have about your child actually exceeding your own abilities in life.

    “There is nothing more damaging to a child than the unfulfilled desires of the parent.”
    Robert Coles.

    • Andromache permalink
      March 8, 2012 5:54 AM

      Oh my, THANK YOU SISTER TONGUE FOR YOUR COMMENT. I was just writing about this posting in my blog and I couldn’t agree with you more.

  33. March 6, 2012 2:41 PM

    It’s essential that kids learn there are ups and downs in life. You make a great point in that while they’re under your care, you’ll make sure that any failures aren’t detrimental to their welfare, because it IS your job as a parent to take care of them, but that they need to learn for themselves that hard work pays off. The irony is that a bright student who easily makes A’s, will likely be the one who needs even more challenge (maybe in the form of harder classes which will equal more failures) in school to help push them towards success.

  34. March 6, 2012 2:42 PM

    Wow! Great points! Thank you for sharing!

  35. March 6, 2012 2:43 PM

    Thanks for sharing this. Connie

  36. March 6, 2012 2:43 PM

    I agree completely!! It is so sad that many people are raising children who grow up to be lazy and complacent due to lack of challenges and failures.

  37. March 6, 2012 2:51 PM

    I love and fully support this, though at my age I strive to not fail. 😛

  38. March 6, 2012 2:55 PM

    LIKE — three times over! Yea & Amen. Now go on and write the next one: I want my kids to be deprived… to be Out of the In crowd. 🙂 Something about kids not needing to have the latest of every style & gadget.

  39. March 6, 2012 2:56 PM

    I could not agree with you more. Children need support to leant but also support to learn from failure. I do not like some current trends where competition is deemed not healthy. I don’t like aggressive competition but our children need to learn that everything will not drop into their lap and that they will not get everything they want.

    Hard lessons but necessary to deal with life.

    Great works:)


  40. lythya permalink
    March 6, 2012 3:01 PM

    Interesting post. Far too many parents today are holding their kids by the hand. My mother is a teacher, so she knows what it’s like with parents who just won’t let go and who wants to baby their children all the way through. But there are 23 other students who require as much attention as their child, and they have to accept, that their child will be on its own sometimes.
    Parents today really are way too overprotective. Perhaps we forget that the child is not just an extension of the parent but an actual human being, with surprisingly sharp minds.

  41. March 6, 2012 3:09 PM

    Well said. I have struggled many times with the concept of failure. Growing up, I was a “Gifted” student, and my teachers and parents made it impossible for me to fail. As an adult, I don’t have them to tidy up my messes. I am working hard to learn this concept, and I hope I can teach it to my child, too.

  42. Kiersten Marek permalink
    March 6, 2012 3:13 PM

    Reblogged this on Therapy with Kiersten Marek, LICSW and commented:
    The unsung benefits of failure.

  43. March 6, 2012 3:13 PM

    I am currently pursuing my PhD in educational psychology with a concentration on gifted and creative education and just stumbled across this blog!

    I appreciate your thoughts on the art of failing and I agree, failing can be just as great of an educational experience as succeeding. Sometimes, it is learning what NOT to do that is the greater lesson.

    Take care,

  44. Ms. Nonconformity permalink
    March 6, 2012 3:14 PM

    My daughter is in a gifted program, but her teachers rarely have the time or resources to keep her challenged. I slowly am losing confidence in the program when I see so many children being pushed into it by their parents (practicing and testing over and over), then become competitors with their classmates, some of whom are truly gifted and non-competitive. The teachers are pressured to please these parents and often enable the students to tear each other down, meanwhile, forgetting some of the students — actually born with higher thinking, creativity and maturity — are there on their own terms and not forced by parents. The gifted program in our district provides bragging rights for type-A parents who view their children as another trophy. I know for certain the gifted program never was created for type-A’s or for kids who are terrified of failing their parents. I hope the gifted program in your state is doing its job to keep it limited to gifted students who truly do need to be challenged enough to academically– not socially — fail once in a while.

  45. March 6, 2012 3:16 PM

    Reblogged this on Ida's Blog and commented:
    Failure can be as important as success. I also want my (grand)daughter to fail. At 18 months, her attitude, as she works on my iPad, is not that she’s failed, but that she’s working, having fun and learning. It’s that attitude I want to promote in all of us, including me.

  46. March 6, 2012 3:18 PM

    Well said. I just sat through a IEP for my gifted daughter and made this same arguement. I have two gifted children and have spent their entire lives looking for opportunities for them to fail. We have challenged them with art, music, sports, anything they where unfamiliar with and may have to struggle to learn
    We put our son on a school tennis team in sixth grade when he had never even held a racquet before. He was furious with us. But we didn’t let him quit. Instead he spent an extra hour or two after school practice to practice a little more, He fell in love with the game and is now heading off to college to play tennis (hence the birth of the crazy tennis mom) .
    We put our daughter in art lessons because she a real talent for drawing. The only catch, we didn’t let her draw, instead she had to paint (which she hated because she wasn’t good at it) Now she is a gifted painter as well.

    They aren’t going to rise to the top of everything they try but they are going to try everything. when challenged they learn to work harder, when they fail they learn how much they hate the feeling and work harder so failure isn’t an option any longer. It’s all about the work ethic.

    Both kids play tennis now because there is one thing I know. It will never be easy. They may get good at it but it is never easy. They have developed an incredible work ethic that they can translate into their school. They have also learned the valuable lesson that their is always someone smarter, faster, and better than you.

    I love this article and pray that the school systems do not lose their gifted education programs. It is only by the challenges they get through these programs that they learn how to study and work for their grades.

  47. March 6, 2012 3:24 PM

    I totally agree with you on this. If they dont atleast try its because they are being lazy. I poush my kids to try all the time. They might fail but that just usually makes them want to try harder next time.

  48. KharmaIsis permalink
    March 6, 2012 3:25 PM

    I have lived and parented by this rule all my life. Wonderful blog post!

  49. March 6, 2012 3:29 PM

    If you’re trying to learn a new skill, can one expect to master it on the first try? Absolutely not, because one doesn’t inherently know what works and what doesn’t. Failure and pain are the best teachers, because they teach what not to do. Each failed free throw, each crummy drawing, each botched execution is one step closer to figuring out how to do it properly.

    A child that never encounters failure and the pain associated with it doesn’t understand that success is possible. It’s the difference between telling a child that their success is a product of hard work, and it being a product of natural intelligence or talent. In the latter, if success doesn’t come at first, they just assume that they’re incapable of succeeding. And when that happens, they’ll be reluctant to even try.

  50. Steve permalink
    March 6, 2012 3:30 PM

    This is a wonderful post! My parents never babied me like some others I know my age, and like many, many of those younger and younger than me. It’s kind of a shame.

  51. March 6, 2012 3:37 PM

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  52. March 6, 2012 3:45 PM

    Bravo! Thanks for this—it’s incredibly timely!

  53. March 6, 2012 3:47 PM

    Reblogged this on Racruela De Ville and commented:
    I love this kind of information that teach parents how to be responsible with their kids.

  54. Michelle St. Onge permalink
    March 6, 2012 3:50 PM

    What an insightful piece. Thank you so much for shedding important light on the value of falling down and getting back up again. The only real mistake is the one you don’t learn from.

  55. March 6, 2012 3:57 PM

    This is a very true and very powerful chain of thought as well as life style. Something that I, myself, have a desire to implement into my home.
    Through failure, success can be found.
    Through failure, true happiness can be felt.
    Through failure, life can be truly lived.

  56. March 6, 2012 4:16 PM

    I agree with what you said. It is very important that our children, adolecents, and even adults learn that if there is no failure there is no growth. We should not think from a young age that everything is paved in gold and handed to you or will be fixed if you mess it up. There are consequences to all of our actions. If we fail at a task we need to get back up and try our hardest to succeed and concur. Getting kids to care about education who have not had the chance to fail is very hard when it comes to acedemics. They think that if they get a bad grade they wont be punished for it and they will have another chance to make it up on another test. Having a respect for education is very important.

    This is why I agree with this article on many levels. My son has had a hard time at school and is learning that if he doesnt bust his butt he will not move forward with his peers. I am proud of him and always encourage his hard work. Most importantly I help him understand the importance of hard work, diligence, and sacrifice for success and intelligence.

    Thank you for this article. I look forward to reading more.

  57. maryfollowsthelamb permalink
    March 6, 2012 4:35 PM

    “Don’t make success easy for them, but teach them the skills they need to succeed.”

    That’s it in a nutshell.

  58. March 6, 2012 4:37 PM

    Great blog! I completely agree…I want my kids to face challenges and find their own sense of perseverance. As a teen I remember the anxiety my parents felt about my breakdowns. I remember when I went from public school to an academic excellence school and getting my first C, D, and F on the first report card… it definitely changed my view about compassion right then and there, since I always thought of myself as being so smart and that school was so easy. I remember when I had tough times in high school and all my dad cared about were my grades… I think this is the reason why sometimes freshmen in college do a great big fail that first year…sometimes it is their first opportunity to do so.

  59. kristobaldude permalink
    March 6, 2012 4:43 PM

    Great post on the value of learning from failure. Here is a related quote from Mark Cuban, Movie Mogul and Entrepreneur:

    “No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because… All that matters in business is that you get it right once. Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are.”

    BTW, I was in the talented and gifted program in jr. high and it was super-boring. I hope it has evolved into interesting today because it had great potential. The only thing memorable was this book I discovered called “Gate Of Worlds” by Robert Silverberg, a novel that takes place in a 1950’s America where the bubonic plague never devastated Europe, and the Aztecs are masters of both American continents. It is still one of my favorite books.

    I agree with you on the value of failure as learning tool. One final quote from Edison and a link on a related article:

    “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas Edison

  60. March 6, 2012 4:50 PM

    I actually wrote about this the other day on someone else’s Freshly Pressed page. I don’t want my son to crash and burn but I do want him to work hard and get around issues he is facing.

    Like many people I am trying to grow as a person. I came to realize that a good portion of my life was spent doing things that I enjoyed well but not putting any effort into things that I could not do well. I used the same old excuses…”I am poor at math”, etc. Now I am trying to re-learn how to feel about failing and the process of learning. A person who enjoys the process of learning will get further in being self actualized. Failing is part of that process.

    Good post!

  61. March 6, 2012 5:04 PM

    You make such great points! I definitely owe a lot of my successes to previous failures. I think failure is also helpful in teaching to be less fearful in life.

  62. March 6, 2012 5:13 PM

    Excellent post. I wish more parents would think this way.

  63. Dave permalink
    March 6, 2012 5:15 PM

    I couldn’t agree more, and thanks for being a voice of truth

  64. March 6, 2012 5:16 PM

    Reblogged this on kauffycups and commented:
    I want my kids to fail.

  65. jcbos75 permalink
    March 6, 2012 5:21 PM

    Reblogged this on Bostron's Rants and commented:
    I was inspired to write a post on the saying here, but this blogger summed it up perfectly: Here is the post, in its entirety.

  66. One Loved American Girl permalink
    March 6, 2012 5:28 PM

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison. All part of learning about life. Great post!

  67. March 6, 2012 5:29 PM

    This is so true! I’m one of those kids who “is bright enough to learn with minimal effort and is rewarded with A’s for that” and this year I decided to take a college algebra class in high-school and man I got a rude awakening!

    I really struggle in the class, and at first I was upset. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t put forth the same effort in that class that I did in my others (minimal effort I must say) and I actually considered transferring out of it! My parents didn’t let me, and now I’m glad. I’ve completed the first quarter of the class, and am happy I stuck with it. I have a B, which I normally would be unhappy with, but I worked so hard in the class I feel rewarded. I found I actually like the challenge!

    I’m planning on taking more college courses my JR. year because of it.

    Failing, and having to try are really good for you, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first! Nice post!

  68. March 6, 2012 5:32 PM

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the child) with waning interest and support for public education in our country more children will have the opportunity to fail.

  69. Faith permalink
    March 6, 2012 5:35 PM

    Wow! Very well written! I agree with you 100%. I wish more parents would adopt the same line of thinking/parenting.

  70. March 6, 2012 5:39 PM

    It took me forever to explain to my mother why I wanted my kids to fail, I still don’t think she gets it. I’m going to forward this to her, but, event though you have spelled things out wonderfully and in a very easy to read manner, she still won’t get it.

  71. March 6, 2012 5:44 PM

    I love this! I’ve been saying this for years! I’m also a HUGE advocate for the gifted and talented. My Masters is in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in gifted and talented learners, and then my Doctorate in Educational Psychology is in Intelligence, Creativity, and Giftedness. Thank you so much for posting this!

  72. March 6, 2012 5:45 PM

    Hi, reblogged to Mother, Beader & Coffee Lover. Great post. I want my kids to Fail so they can Succeed!

  73. March 6, 2012 5:46 PM

    Reblogged this on Mother, Beader and Coffee lover…. and commented:
    I want my kids to Fail so they can Succeed.

  74. March 6, 2012 5:54 PM

    Wow – this is such well-written article with nuggets of wisdom. Thank you for reminding us of the joy that can result even through failure, and how success is a (oftentimes) slow process!

  75. giggloki permalink
    March 6, 2012 6:00 PM

    I really really like this. A lot to think about. 🙂

  76. March 6, 2012 6:12 PM

    This is a brilliant post.

    A teacher once told us “If I’m not failing, I know I’m not learning!”
    Good thing to remember.

  77. March 6, 2012 6:21 PM

    Yes! Finally some sense out there. Most parents though are so intent on success the children have no skills. I have noticed now that my fourth child is in school in a middle class neighborhood that kids are coddled and helpless. Can someone teach independence to their kids? It is crazy to see kids so loved they can not do up their shoes or jackets or make their lunch. Stop the madness.

  78. Tsinelas permalink
    March 6, 2012 6:32 PM

    Reblogged this on 12 Tsinelas ni Cocoy.

  79. March 6, 2012 6:37 PM

    Brilliant post! We parents want only the best for our children that sometimes we provide them with everything, mostly material things. My husband and I try to our best to provide our four-year old daughter with experiences and opportunities. When she wants something, we ask her if she can afford it. She saves money in her piggy bank. She has to learn that she can’t have everything.

    Thanks for reminding me that my daughter has to fall down sometimes and that I shouldn’t pick her up right away (well, now that she’s 4 it’s ok). She has to fall down sometimes so she will learn to stand up on her own.

  80. March 6, 2012 6:39 PM

    Reblogged this on finnegan2749.

  81. millodello permalink
    March 6, 2012 6:39 PM

    What you want is your kids to succeed. What you are asking is for the child to avoid failure. Seeing success as the avoidance of failure works wonders. It does however fail to define success. Is success just survival? Success does come easily or not at all.

    • betr2garden permalink
      March 6, 2012 7:58 PM

      I proudly say: I have allowed my kids to fail, to take consequences and rewards, to think things through and find solutions that work for themselves and others, to help out.

      So much easier to just give them everything and do everything for them. However, you will never know who they are capable of being, and neither will they.

      It takes a gentle hand to facet a fine gem and the gem doesn’t know what will hurt and what will make them shine, until later.

      Thanks for this article. Very thought provoking.

  82. March 6, 2012 6:44 PM

    The sentiment behind this post is solid and commendable, but the terms in which it is framed are sadly conditioned by the experience of a society where everyone went to school and was tested.
    Real life is not about success and failure. Almost nothing we do is 100% success or 100% failure. real life is about trying more or less at all sorts of things, and achieving mixed results.
    Almost no-one is ever in the situation Michael Jordan is in when he is ‘trusted to make the winning shot’. Even Michael Jordan!
    If we want kids to develop that innate understanding of what it means to try hard at something that is initially difficult, and to gradually develop confidence and ability, then testing them and letting them know they have failed is a BAD IDEA.
    A thought experiment: when you make a cake / fix a puncture / write a difficult letter, do you know (or care) if you have passed or failed? Now think again: do you know or care whether you have done it well or badly? Which assessment is more useful?
    Another thought: when you see a young (pre-school) child try something that is beyond them, do you (or they) EVER consider lack of success as ‘failure’ – would this be a helpful judgement? If you don’t (and you know my answer, I think), then why is it a helpful judgement for a school-age child?

    I want my kids to experience struggle, but I never want them to class inability as failure.

  83. March 6, 2012 6:48 PM

    Reblogged this on The Amber Light's Blog and commented:
    Honestly, as I write, I have not finished reading this. But this is a GREAT blog and MUST read for all parents and people who have children in their lives to guide.
    I have written and talked a lot about fialure not actually being “The End” and actually not really “failing” so much as succeding in a different way than our mind expected. How we deal with that experience daily is the key to The Best Life.
    A person has to try to do things and then NOT accomplish the feat so they can KNOW what NOT to do and WHERE to improve.
    EXTREMELY timely advice to get kids involved in life again!

  84. March 6, 2012 7:03 PM

    I want my children to value failure as an opportunity for growth that inspires ingenuity. I see so many children living in a space of created success, paralyzed by panic in moments of imperfection.

  85. March 6, 2012 7:04 PM

    O the political side of things; If Barrack Obama would at least try and fail, he may be able to succeed at something. Since he is afraid to fail, he does nothing.

  86. March 6, 2012 7:07 PM

    Reblogged this on Chowshingyau's Blog.

  87. March 6, 2012 7:14 PM

    That’s just plain crazy talk. We live in an age when every kid gets a participation ribbon, a note from their parents when they skip school, an asthma inhaler, a note from their parents when they don’t want to dress out in PE or climb the rope, and a generous allowance so they can purchase any manner of video game or sweet that their precious little undeprived hearts desire. You are swimming upstream. You will be met with resistance—probably by your own hubris and a drive to vicariously take “a second crack” at success through the lives of your children.

    And, sadly, when it comes down to whether your kid is going to fail or not, I’m giving 5 to 1 odds that you will intervene to spare them from the horror of not being good enough, to ensure that they never know the gnawing pain of hunger, to help them avoid the taunts and ridicule that comes from being the last one picked. Millions and millions of parents who wanted their kids to fail have nevertheless spawned and nurtured the current generation of rottenness. What we and they have become didn’t just happen. We were nurtured.

  88. March 6, 2012 7:17 PM

    I would add: and stop making excuses for them when they don’t do their homework or act appropriately or fail. If you get them out of every situation they will not be successful. They need to be able to be in the best hands possible – their own – when you are not there to catch them in yours.

  89. March 6, 2012 7:17 PM

    I agree. My 8 yr old son plays basketball at this local church. I understand the goal is for the kids to have fun [ an preach the gosple] but they have this rule that they do not want to keep score becuase they do not want any of the kids to be hurt if they lose. say what? Yes, losing hurts but it also encourages competition, a desire to excell, to do better. Losing can be a plus. Now what makes me luagh about this is, that the children secretly keep score and have no bones about telling each other who “won and lost”. Oh, especially if they lost.

    I have always believed that if you take away a reason to excell – like winning , most people will lose interest in doing anything. Why even try if no one keeps score, if no one cheers when you win. I play chess and when I started playing I lost every game I played, that only spured me on to get better in order to win. So, yes, I agree.

  90. russelllindsey permalink
    March 6, 2012 7:27 PM

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde and commented:
    I love this!

  91. March 6, 2012 7:38 PM

    Reblogged this on A Teacher's Note.

  92. March 6, 2012 7:42 PM

    I start reading this article because of the title. It is appealing.

  93. Indra permalink
    March 6, 2012 7:44 PM

    students need to know this! as well as teachers to promote their teaching style..

    A very splendid writing!

  94. March 6, 2012 7:50 PM

    I wouldn’t emphasize failure as much. I know it’s more interesting rhetorically to put it this way, but it’s more important for people to think about and aim for the habit of practice, resiliency, and quality. I know they may be different ways to say the same thing, but it’s probably less misleading to talk about the need for iterations, challenges, and appreciation for process and reprocess.

    I know some people have a bad habit of interpreting too many of their efforts as “failures.” I can see how the language would be appealing to these types.

  95. March 6, 2012 7:55 PM

    I totally agree with this great post. My wife and myself are convinced that personalized curricula that challenge our 2 kids at all times are the best gift we can make to lead them to success in their own lives. This also happens to be the way I was raised by my parents.

  96. March 6, 2012 7:57 PM

    I think what’s most important is teaching the importance of evaluating your process not just your product. Seemingly instantaneous success or failure doesn’t allow the child think through what made them fail or succeed. With time and a process driven unit of work every student in your class can succeed but have experienced failures/ obstacles along the path to success.

  97. Kitten permalink
    March 6, 2012 8:08 PM

    When failing the HSPA won’t prevent me from graduating, THEN I’ll not worry about it.
    When failing a class doesn’t prevent me from getting the necessary credits, THEN I won’t worry about it.
    When failing a test doesn’t drop my grade point average, THEN I won’t get worked up about it.
    When I don’t have to compete anymore (and I HATE competition), THEN I’ll take failure in stride.

    Until then, I will NEVER desire to fail or for anyone else to fail.

  98. March 6, 2012 8:14 PM

    I so much agree with this post.
    It’s a funny coincidence that just a couple of minutes ago I published a very similar post on my blog.

  99. March 6, 2012 8:18 PM

    Reblogged this on Coleition.

  100. March 6, 2012 8:21 PM

    my mother wanted me to fail when i grew up. she wanted me to know that as long as i tried my hardest, and i knew that, that it was not about the failing. i can remember failing a school course for the first time in grade 10 – it was math. it was the only course that still reminds me that i will fail and that’s ok. i happen to have held and 75-80 average in all other classes. i can remember making a poor choice in boyfriends, and learning from that. my first summer at a job, i spent almost every cent on shoes. i learned a lot about me and who i am through failing, and remember more. When i would “win” or have recognition, it wasn’t that i was pompous about it, it was simply that i appreciated the recognition and “i knew i could do it”. i’m glad i failed then, because now nothing has stopped me from graduating this year – no illness, no surgery, no financial issues, and no heartbreak has stopped me – i fail, learn, carry on.

  101. March 6, 2012 8:23 PM

    Thank you for posting this! I work in a children’s after school program and supervised 45 kids ages 6-11. Many of them have very poor coping skills because they’re every need is catered to by their parents. These kids don’t even try and get mad at me when I refuse to cut a shape out of paper for them. They need to learn hoe to make mistakes but we few kids as being so emotionally fragile that we can’t see that it is because of us adults that they are becoming that way.

    I’m worried about how the upcoming generations are going to fair out as adults.

  102. March 6, 2012 8:28 PM

    Reblogged this on l1v3l1f3 and commented:
    Thank you for posting this! Such an inspirational post! I’m going to reshare it!

  103. March 6, 2012 8:30 PM

    Thanks for this writing,
    somehow make me understand how to face failures i’ve made.

  104. March 6, 2012 8:31 PM

    Yes. I had a lot of trouble in school, because most subjects were so easy for me, and the hard things were so hard. My mother couldn’t deal with it. She was great at teaching students who were behind, but she couldn’t bring herself to believe that any of her own kids had trouble understanding anything. Then when we tried to push ourselves harder in the subjects that were easy for us, she would get upset because we cared too much about books. And to make things worse, we were all pretty bad at social stuff, which she excelled at, and again, she couldn’t believe we weren’t just deliberately ignoring things that seemed so clear to her. Meanwhile, my dad pretty much stayed out of it except for making us do rewrites on papers.

    We pretty much felt stupid and doomed and helpless all the time, albeit punctuated with moments when we couldn’t believe how stupid other people were.

    We did okay, but we could have gone a lot farther if my parents hadn’t been so rough on us for some things (without instruction) and so willing to let us slough off on others (without instruction).

  105. March 6, 2012 8:41 PM


  106. March 6, 2012 8:44 PM

    Love this post! Parents are so busy protecting their children from failure, or getting hurt that they don’t realize how much they are actually hurting them. There are so many learning experiences in life that we as parents tend to rob our kids of because we want to protect them from the feelings that come along with failure, or falling, or whatever it may be.

  107. March 6, 2012 8:46 PM

    I loved your post – and agree 100%. We have two daughters. One is about to embark upon high school next year and has done very well in public school with traditional classrooms. She has failed and she has succeeded. And with each failure she has gained new insight in to her own personal strengths and weaknesses. We work hard as parents to create an environment of success at home too – which might mean that there are some very real consequences for unacceptable behavior. (i.e. she has been doing her own laundry for the last 3 years because she refused to put her clean clothes away after I would wash them). Unfortunately, our younger daughter has not seen the same successes academically. She did qualify for our GATE program but it didn’t prove to be a winning environment for her – and in the regular classrooms she is bored. I’m starting to see that she doesn’t have a passion for learning any more – a sort of “why bother” attitude since she makes 100% on almost every assignment. We’ve decided to try distance learning for her next year to give her the academic stimulus she is needing. I look forward to becoming more familiar with your website!

  108. March 6, 2012 8:47 PM

    Reblogged this on findingmyworth and commented:
    Okay, so my blog isn’t about our children’s education. However, the way I see this post tying into Finding My Worth is that if we start to teach our children young how to handle failure, hurts, negativities in their life and then we teach them to value who they are, what they believe, and to know what they stand for then we are starting them off on the right foundation. This is a great article something I just ran across today and was compelled to share.

  109. JeriWB permalink
    March 6, 2012 8:49 PM

    I truly value all the times I failed at something or my parents told me no. As a teacher it is hard to deal with parents who don’t think their child deserves a bad grade. Or, if students can’t meet arbitrary test scores, why not just lower the standards? More and more students are becoming complacent because they never fail at anything. I even knew one teacher who refused to put zeroes in the gradebook for missing assignments since it would hurt the students’ grades too much. They ended up being graded on the average of what they turned in and the zeroes didn’t even get factored into their grades. Good grief. Schools everywhere need to step-up their game and actually hold students to real standards and not be afraid to fail them!!!!

  110. skeetbug85 permalink
    March 6, 2012 9:00 PM

    Reblogged this on Fun On A Dime and commented:
    This is a great post!

  111. March 6, 2012 9:13 PM

    Reblogged this on Rich's Lair and commented:
    My mom is constantly reminding me of how impressed she is at how often I have fallen (regardless the excerise or project) and popped back up to try again. I can only hope that for my children too.

  112. March 6, 2012 9:19 PM

    Reblogged this on Mathew Myers and commented:
    Unreal blog post!

  113. March 6, 2012 9:33 PM

    Reblogged this on coachbillmoore and commented:
    I’m not one to reblog very often, but this is just an amazing piece and I wanted to make sure you had the opportunity to see it. -B

  114. March 6, 2012 9:39 PM

    Most definitely an amazing article. I’m not a father, myself, but I can imagine how hard it must be not to shield and protect this wonderful, loving creature you’ve birthed at all times from all the threats both known and unknown around the world. It makes you think, as any good article should. Thank you.

  115. March 6, 2012 9:42 PM

    Failure is just a byproduct of success.

    P.S. Gifted education is needed, especially for those who don’t fit the standard mold!

  116. March 6, 2012 9:48 PM

    Bravo for being a responsible parent!

  117. March 6, 2012 9:52 PM

    Reblogged this on My Life as a Starbucks Junkie and commented:
    Wow. Pretty powerful stuff here. I agree 100%!

  118. March 6, 2012 10:00 PM

    I have failed many times and that is how I learn to succeed.
    Thank you for sharing this blog.

  119. zee permalink
    March 6, 2012 10:13 PM

    Hi ..
    great article .. .:)

  120. March 6, 2012 10:16 PM

    This is how I was raised. It has taught me not to let success get to my head, and not to let failure get to my heart.

  121. mvititoe permalink
    March 6, 2012 10:17 PM

    Interesting article. I never thought of success in terms of failing. I try to teach my kids not to be afraid of failing; to pick themselves up when they fall down. I want them to succeed. Yet, after reading your article, I realize I could do more.

    Thank you.

    Matt Vititoe

  122. March 6, 2012 10:36 PM

    I really like this concept and I think more people should live by it. I learned a lot about going through life successfully by being financially independent in college. If my parents had paid for my rent, my tuition, or my car like many other parents do, I would not have grown. However, my parents will never let me fail so absolutely that I cannot carry on. I definitely want to raise my own future children this way.

  123. March 6, 2012 10:37 PM

    Reblogged this on luaydpk.

  124. March 6, 2012 10:38 PM

    I completely agree. I wish my parents would have let me fail. Instead, they pay my bills and don’t make me pay rent. I honestly wish they would have kicked me out when I got pregnant. Yeah, it would’ve been alot harder, but I do believe in tough love. My boyfriend was brought up with tough love and he’s the greatest guy I’ve ever met. So hardworking and sweet, and a true gentleman and I do connect that to his upbringing.

  125. March 6, 2012 10:41 PM

    Yes, i want my kids to fail, end up homeless, in jail, in prison, because if they did not fail they would never have learned anything at all. There is nothing wrong at all about being a failure.

  126. March 6, 2012 10:50 PM

    Failure is a part of success.

  127. jmasana permalink
    March 6, 2012 10:51 PM

    Failing does not make a failure. Quitting does.

  128. March 6, 2012 10:52 PM

    Reblogged this on Daughter of the Moon.

  129. March 6, 2012 10:54 PM

    Failure is so important in so many ways. I completely agree that without failure, success cannot be truly understood or appreciated. All kids love challenges, in one way or another, because they have a desire to learn about the world around them. Failure teaches them how to move through life in positive ways. As long as that failure isn’t tearing them down completely, it is a good thing! Honestly, who in this world would just want everything handed to them?

  130. March 6, 2012 11:15 PM

    What a wonderful post! Thank you for providing insight not only into my childhood (and why finding internal drive was so difficult for me – everything was easy) but also encouraging me in my approach to teaching my son. He doesn’t like making mistakes, and helping him see that there’s something to learn and to try again has become vital to his, and my, process. You put it eloquently.

  131. March 6, 2012 11:19 PM

    nice info and sharing,, permitted for share,,,, thx…

  132. March 6, 2012 11:23 PM

    This rings so true one every level. I’m currently teaching in Thailand, where children learn early on that they cannot fail. Literally, the government mandates that every child must pass in school. Therefore, cheating is encouraged. I wish I had the power to submit your article (translated to Thai) to the director of every school and have it mean something, but it wouldn’t do any good. Teachers (and directors alike) cannot lose their jobs. Ever. Once a government employee, you cannot fail. So why should the children they teach be able to?

    Beautifully written. If you want to read more about teaching English in Thailand (I think you’ll particularly enjoy, “Paper Politics”, please check out my blog. Your article has inspired my next post!

  133. InnerDialect permalink
    March 6, 2012 11:31 PM

    LOVE THIS BLOG.. we have three kids ( 17 to 11 yrs), the younger two adoptive, the youngest born blind, a bundle of delight and hyper-joy…
    I’ve always felt odd in a society of competitive moms, and me here counting , ” Learning points”, and scoring high with applause, each time they goofed up a paper. ” Ma I earned learning points, but my teacher didnt know that ! ”

    Been worried ( in disguise ha ! But worried neverlthe less) that I was training them to be underachievers…

    the habit has lasted, ” Learning points “, each time they/ we/I fessed up about any error..

    We as a family went thru much change, eco everythn., and much as we struggled some, its been rich pasture.
    My husband and I try and talk to other parents, but often are gawked at as complete idiots 🙂 cant blame them, but there it is.

    WHICH is why am saying, this is a relief… to read that these are foundational principles fr healthy development in a growing mind, gifted in whichever arena.
    They do learn from peers, that there is a 1st prize, a medal, a podium, an applause, but I guess motivation from deep within, ah thats the best trigger.

    I grew up with a stammer and it gave ( eventually) a job with broadcast. I have the worst handwriting but thank heavens for keys here…

    oh am blinkn happy to read this, shall return to read up every word. Do visit my stuttering blog if…

    Much peace and Joy,


    • March 7, 2012 9:11 AM

      I love the idea of “learning points”! If you can’t acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake, it becomes very difficult to learn from it. I would like to hear more about learning points. I could see it being very worthwhile implemented both at home and at school. Have you blogged about it?

      • InnerDialect permalink
        March 7, 2012 11:02 AM

        No, I but I will! That just came off the cuff as I replied to your post. ( Am working on some things here, with parents of blind, mult- challenged kids ; there is much to learn, but shall be sharing from home ” ergghhh- moments..” thank you for replying. Lookn forward …

  134. March 6, 2012 11:41 PM

    Reblogged this on scubadivintty and commented:
    i like

  135. March 6, 2012 11:44 PM

    Thank you for this! I used to teach English in Taiwan where parents would get mad at me for giving their children grades that they deserved. They couldn’t bear the thought of their kids getting anything below a 95!

    I hope to remember this article when I have kids of my own!

  136. NO ULTERIOR MOTIVE permalink
    March 6, 2012 11:45 PM

    For sure, a true statement! Now, where do we find parents who love their children enough to make this happen? To make this happen you must have full time parents (that’s plural). Unfortunately, what I see after 68 years are part-time parents (majority of which are divorced and maybe remarried), part-time day care, part-time baby sitting, part-time schools and part-time grandparents all scrambling to raise a full time child, while the part-time parents work 60 hour weeks to pay for and organize this scramble. There are some exceptions to this, of course.

  137. Coleen permalink
    March 6, 2012 11:51 PM

    This is why I can’t stand the phrase, “Failure is not an option.” Failure is always an option. Failure is the true teacher.

    • March 10, 2012 5:53 PM

      I think that depends a lot on the situation you’re in. I climbed a mountain in Tibet nobody had climbed before, and decided to take the shortest way out, which meant a week on bicycle in one of the most inhospitable places on earth, completely on my own. If I failed, I would have died, and noone would ever have a chance of finding any remnants of my journey or learn what happened. I can tell you for sure, failure was not an option…

  138. March 7, 2012 12:09 AM

    Oh, to have more parents (and administrators) who would realize we do our children no favors by instilling the “don’t-want-to-hurt-your-self-esteem” syndrome. Good words.

  139. March 7, 2012 12:27 AM

    I’m a teacher and a mom and I love this post! There is so much to be learned from failure and a lot of opportunity for character to build.

  140. March 7, 2012 12:42 AM

    Great post! Failure is a way of learning and growing, how you move on from the setback will teach you the greatest lessons.

  141. March 7, 2012 12:42 AM

    Reblogged this on Clareville.

  142. March 7, 2012 12:43 AM

    Awsome! The title motivates me to read out the whole post!
    If we make failure mandatory then only success will become an option!

  143. Kitten permalink
    March 7, 2012 12:51 AM

    “Honestly, who in this world would just want everything handed to them?”

    Oh, probably anybody who hates working. Which is probably about 90% or so of the USA’s population (the other 10% are workaholics or desperate).

  144. March 7, 2012 12:52 AM

    Reblogged this on xanniesevilla.

  145. Rohaina permalink
    March 7, 2012 1:00 AM

    Great article! I’m only 19, but I’ve already thought about this… Definitely going to implement this as a mantra while I raise my future kids. Thanks for the share.

  146. March 7, 2012 1:04 AM

    Reblogged this on trinnny.

  147. March 7, 2012 1:06 AM

    Utterly brilliant and so simple. One of the key reasons why I dislike the school that I currently teach at so much is because they don’t allow the kids to experience failure in any sense of the idea whatsoever. This school coddles the kids so much, it’s truly sickening, and it’s surely not doing them any favors.

  148. bb1211 permalink
    March 7, 2012 1:08 AM

    I’m a kid. I think that failure has made me the person I am

  149. March 7, 2012 1:10 AM

    Reblogged this on Drex & Draculie and commented:
    this is what learning is..

  150. majjeanne permalink
    March 7, 2012 1:31 AM

    Reblogged this on Maj jEANNE.

  151. March 7, 2012 1:36 AM

    Reblogged this on Behind the scenes and commented:
    A friend counsellor once had a case of a high-flying student who could not accept the fact that she was not chosen for a leadership position in her club. She was devastated after the episode and could not pick up herself. Since then, her studies suffered and she withdrew from her friends and teachers.
    We teach our children many academic skills, but probably the most important lessons are outside the textbooks. They are life skills that can equip them better for the real world.
    And failures that we so often avoid or try to protect them from, should in fact not be shunned. A little failure or two will not hurt, but give them more valuable lessons than we can ever teach, like how to cope with negative emotions, how to learn from their mistakes, how to plot their success. And failures are what make success sweet and well-deserved.

  152. Raymond Antony permalink
    March 7, 2012 1:37 AM

    good concept

  153. March 7, 2012 2:01 AM

    Reblogged this on vivianmutai and commented:
    Its through failure that a person will pick themselves up and know there is competition.

  154. March 7, 2012 2:08 AM

    Failure is a chance that some might afraid to meet up, I think I am one of them. I admit, I failed a lot not really in studies but in some perspective. Failure teaches you more than what you know!

  155. March 7, 2012 2:20 AM

    Great post and I totally agree. My son has had his share of failures and because of this is a successful student in Swedish high school. Bravo!

  156. thewondermya permalink
    March 7, 2012 2:25 AM

    Your post is awesome !

  157. janieblim permalink
    March 7, 2012 2:38 AM

    This is a very refreshing view for parents or future parents. I would very much like to teach my future kids that fear of failure should not stop them from doing things. They just need to give it their 100% and if that doesn’t work, give 110% the next time.

    As an adult, this post also inspired me to try not to make failure such a big deal. It is part of life. Failing, no matter how bad it may seem, will make me into a better person.

    Thanks a lot. This is a great post!

  158. janieblim permalink
    March 7, 2012 2:42 AM

    Reblogged this on Janie has a blog and commented:
    Must read!

  159. March 7, 2012 2:50 AM

    Great post! I love the quote at the top. GATE and AP classes are the best! I was in them myself as a child. Go gifted education!

  160. Hashem permalink
    March 7, 2012 3:03 AM

    Well said, you elegantly summed up what was on my mind!

  161. March 7, 2012 3:09 AM

    With this … GOODBYE TO MOLLYCODDLING!!!!!!!!!!

  162. Fiona.q permalink
    March 7, 2012 3:10 AM

    dont let them fail too much to lose the confidence 😉

  163. habibima77 permalink
    March 7, 2012 3:47 AM


    Great lesson for parents!!

    I want my kids to fail, too.

    Thanks from Spain.

  164. March 7, 2012 3:57 AM

    “It is only when they fail that they learn empathy for others struggling”. That summarises it all. I ve personally been in situations where I thought there was no hope. When we come out of it, we become less critical as human beings.

  165. March 7, 2012 4:01 AM

    Emotional resilience and dealing with the tough stuff is important. Learning how to bounce back and keep forging ahead is something I try to teach my children by example. We can’t pave the way for our children otherwise when we aren’t around, how will they learn how to navigate the rough patches? Thanks for a great post.

  166. March 7, 2012 4:17 AM

    Wow! Rochester is just down the road from me! Talk about a small world! lol

    I very much love the sentiment in your article, well done. 🙂

  167. March 7, 2012 4:31 AM

    Reblogged this on Grimoire Castle and commented:
    This post really resonated with me because it is the opposite of how I have been raised. I was a precocious child, able to ace exams without even trying. Not used to fail at all, when the gap in maturity and skills between me and the others started to close (near the end of high school), the result wasn’t pretty and I found myself extremely troubled. The later you learn what failure is, the harder it becomes to accept failure and use it as a path toward success.

    Now my point by reblogging this is to address a message to the new RMers out there: don’t be afraid to fail. Your first games will be horrible failures whether you like it or not, so make them failures you can be proud of – when you’re stuck on something, don’t go on forums to ask others to make a script to solve your problem, but ask them how you can work around your problem. At first, you will fail anyway, but what you will learn in the process will pave your future successes.
    I really, truly wish for you to be able to post online your hard work and see others enjoy it.

  168. austriaal permalink
    March 7, 2012 4:44 AM

    Very true. Relevant too. From personal experience….I felt I’d failed when I had a complete nervous breakdown and been hospitalised during my university study. However I feel it has allowed me to ‘bounce back’ with 20 times the strength, resolve, maturity and open-mindedness that was sorely lacking in the first place. Great post, well said.

  169. March 7, 2012 4:53 AM

    Beautiful article … well thought and well articulated

  170. Noise Maker permalink
    March 7, 2012 5:14 AM

    Failure is part of learning because you will never know the right answers when you don’t know the wrong ones.

  171. March 7, 2012 5:16 AM

    Interesting article………………

  172. March 7, 2012 5:31 AM

    how true! it kinda sounds bad “wanting kids to fail” but it is actually essential learning and experience for a productive life. agreed! and thanks also for continuing to broaden my own understanding and “acceptance” of failure.

  173. March 7, 2012 5:50 AM

    Reblogged this on Sillyfrog's Blog and commented:
    This is worth sharing today.

  174. Lavinia permalink
    March 7, 2012 6:09 AM

    Reblogged this on Lavinia's Journey and Public Journal and commented:
    A great post: well written thoughts that I had before as well, but could not express in writing so well as this person 🙂

  175. 12vanblart permalink
    March 7, 2012 6:26 AM

    Reblogged this on 12vanblart and commented:
    This will make life better.

  176. March 7, 2012 6:44 AM

    Reblogged this on StanfordGirl.

  177. March 7, 2012 6:51 AM

    Oh, so true! I took the liberty in quoting you on a scrap book I keep for my kids (which they don’t know about, but will soon). This is just beautiful, thanks.

  178. March 7, 2012 7:21 AM

    Learning how to cope with failure is just as important as learning how to cope with success. It wasn’t difficult to have success when I was a child – learning how to deal with setbacks and failures is something I’m struggling with as an adult. I’ll get the hang of it eventually, though I’m sure it would have helped me to learn sooner…

  179. March 7, 2012 7:45 AM

    Reblogged this on Mr. S and commented:
    very wise indeed..

  180. March 7, 2012 7:53 AM

    Wonderful post! I agree! I do not have a child yet but I have a 7-year old brother. He would always tell me that he did not want to try because he’s afraid to make mistakes. I would always tell him that it’s okay to make mistakes because it’s how we learn and it’s how we become better. I would give him examples or stories of famous people who became successful after failing many times to inspire and motivate him.

  181. March 7, 2012 7:56 AM

    we could never see the true value of success without experiencing failures.. what is important is that parents should always support the child especially during times of failures because not all kids could accept failures or defeats that easily.. i’m a mom of 3 teens and words of encouragement do mean a lot to them..

  182. March 7, 2012 8:16 AM

    Reblogged this on Karl Edie – Principal and Teacher.

  183. March 7, 2012 8:19 AM

    “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”

    –Ralph Waldo Emerson

  184. March 7, 2012 8:23 AM

    This post kind of touches close to home for me as I was a child whose parents definitely didn’t pave an easy path. They told me, on the day of my high school graduation, that their “job was done.” College, if I wanted it, was my choice – my decision, and my financial obligation. At the time, my mom and dad were the 1%. Kind of surprising to a girl who, despite her parents being the 1%, still worked 15-20 hours a week after high school and still graduated with a 3.7 from high school. But, because of their 1% financial scholarships and, for that matter, any scholarships weren’t exactly flowing in my direction.

    I had to prove to the government that I was an independent. It took me until I was 22 to do so, but I did it. I’ve been working 40 hours a week and taking 12 hours of college classes at the University by my apartment.

    I am the product of pushing your child to failure to see how strong they can be. Trust me, I’ve had moments in the library at 11:45pm, still grinding out some studying, knowing I have to be up at 6am the next morning and work until 4pm that afternoon only to be in class until 9pm that evening. And, I’ve had some hard bumps, and some failures. But, I’ve picked myself up and I’ve worked really hard. I’m 26, but I’ll graduate from my college Spring 2013. And I paid for it all by myself.

    Sorry, I’ll get off my soap box now. I just felt very moved by your post and wanted to share a good story about your thoughts.


    • March 7, 2012 12:51 PM

      Thank you very much for sharing your story! After what you’ve been through, you have earned the self-confidence to know that you can succeed. It isn’t the fake self-esteem that disappears the moment that it is challenged – and when it is most needed – but a self-awareness that you have met challenges and succeeded through hard work.

  185. March 7, 2012 8:28 AM

    Excellence arises out of improved and corrected mediocrity leading to competence.
    Personal competence is an outcome of personal experience including failures corrected.
    Awareness of personal competence = Self confidence.
    Self confidence does not arise from mollycoddled mediocrity.

  186. March 7, 2012 8:35 AM

    Excellent article and well thought out.

  187. March 7, 2012 8:57 AM

    Reblogged this on alterego.

  188. Mary & Mel permalink
    March 7, 2012 8:58 AM

    You should want yours children too succeed in life, if you want your children to “fail in the classroom” you might as well not send them to school, when you say “I want my kids to fail in the classroom” it makes me think that you’re fat slobs sitting around all day on your backsides doing nothing but eating and sleeping.

    If my parents wanted me “to fail in the classroom” i would feel pretty useless and depressed as if my parents just didn’t give a f***. Maybe instead of encouraging them to fail you should support them in succeeding and the decisions they make.

    So much hate for this.
    Mary & Mel 🙂 xo

    • March 7, 2012 12:45 PM

      I encourage them to fail because it will lead to success, not to psychologically damage them. No one makes all good decisions and sometimes you will fail. I believe my children should be resilient enough to overcome failure.

      Actively equipping your children with the tools to succeed requires both hard work and great restraint. Always stepping in to help them succeed or supporting every decision they make does not help them in the long run.

      • Andromache permalink
        March 8, 2012 6:12 AM

        If you really had faith in your children, you wouldn’t question their resiliency and assume they are incapable of success or failure without your direction. I find it particularly frightening the way some parents go beyond the irrational concept of believing they can control their children’s amount of success to also controlling their failures. It really disturbs me that a parent could possibly find disappointment in their own child’s natural ability to succeed and really believes their child will never learn about failure unless Mommy or Daddy forces it on them. YIKES.

      • March 8, 2012 9:32 AM

        Andromache, my blog is aimed primarily at families with gifted children, even though this particular post is true for everyone. Many gifted children go through school getting A’s for work they put little effort into. When a typical child flunks a test because he didn’t study and learns to put more effort into succeeding, a gifted child often breezes through and learns only that hard work is not necessary. I know. I was that child. And I had maybe three teachers K-12 that tried to demand more from me. Most were satisfied with my easy A’s. I never learned about failure when I was young.

        I learned about failure in college and the workplace, where the consequences are much higher. I would have been better served by failing early and learning how to struggle then.

        I am not looking for my kids to fail pointlessly. I am looking for them to have to work for a good grade, flunk if they put no effort in, and even fail a few times when they’ve done everything that they can because sometimes one’s best simply doesn’t succeed. These life lessons are so important.

        It’s OK if you don’t understand where I am coming from. I am glad that many others, including teachers and principals, do. I would be thrilled if all educators felt that way!

  189. Jaeson D. Rau permalink
    March 7, 2012 9:07 AM

    Reblogged this on Jaeson D. Rau's Blog.

  190. "Fathers Aware" permalink
    March 7, 2012 9:11 AM

    Reblogged this on Fathers Aware.

  191. March 7, 2012 9:13 AM

    There is intensity treshold to failure, which varies for different characters. Let your children fail but not crushed or ruined !

  192. March 7, 2012 9:18 AM

    A true gem of wisdom in a day where parents will storm the gates of teachers’ classrooms when their child comes home with a bad grade!!

  193. March 7, 2012 9:19 AM

    I am an administrator at a private preschool and I am constantly telling this to our parents. This post is going to be put on my school’s facebook page as another reminder to them.

    Have you heard of the work being done by Dr. Angela Duckworth? She has developed a “grit scale” that addresses this same concept. I encourage you to check out the article on my blog called “True Grit” to learn more.

  194. March 7, 2012 9:19 AM

    Reblogged this on Vegucation Mama and commented:
    This is a great article about the importance of failure on the path of success.

  195. March 7, 2012 9:40 AM

    Really fantastic post! As a person who has many friends who are teachers (and as a person looking to become a professor), this post really hit home. There is certainly a lack of challenge for our youth, which is a handicap for them. Thank you for bringing this up. Great words of wisdom 🙂

  196. transplantednorth permalink
    March 7, 2012 9:49 AM

    Have you seen the movie Race to Nowhere? My high school daughter is under the impression that she will never fail a test and getting anything less than 95 is unacceptable.

    • March 7, 2012 10:21 AM

      I reviewed Race to Nowhere back when they were trying to get schools to go easier on kids. Somehow the invite from our principal made it only to parents of gifted students who were asking for more challenge for their children.

      The review can be found at

      I also almost never failed a test – until I got to college and discovered there was more to learning than repeating what the teacher had said six times and wrote on the board twice. It was a hard wake-up.

  197. copycatmom permalink
    March 7, 2012 9:59 AM

    I agree with you 100%. I had to learn this lesson the hard way. My oldest child I set up to succeed in everything she did. Now, I am having to backtrack to allow her to fail. She got lazy when success was not all that earned. Now she has to earn it. Nothing is given to her. I won’t coddle my children anymore. I learned it with my oldest that coddling makes laziness.

  198. March 7, 2012 10:12 AM

    I had a very rough childhood with absent parents and many kinds of abuse. According to the ” experts” I should have grown up a lost soul. Not so! I learned that no matter how bad things are I can always get up and try again. Also if you look hard enough there is always some good that can be salveged. The rough times I went through helped me to become a person who could relate to and help others that were struggling. Who said, ” What does not kill you makes you stronger”. I am not suggesting that people have to be abused to learn to be succesful but they do have to struggle for success and to be able to help others achieve the same! Yoy are right on with this post!

    • March 7, 2012 12:29 PM

      When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure. – Peter Marshall

      Your strength comes not from being born strong and never being knocked down, but from getting up again and again and again.

  199. March 7, 2012 10:21 AM

    We who believe that children want to learn about the world, are good at it, and can be trusted to do it with very little adult coercion or interference, are probably no more than one percent of the population, if that. And we are not likely to become the majority in our lifetime. This doesn’t trouble me much anymore, as long as this minority keeps on growing.”

    • Andromache permalink
      March 8, 2012 6:13 AM

      🙂 Great comment.

    • March 8, 2012 9:40 AM


      Education is coercion and interference. For gifted children, they are often coerced into situations where most of what is taught they already know and so their natural learning is interfered with. For many kids in the classroom or the ball field, failure is not allowed and so they do not learn in a natural manner. I am not trying to force my kids into failure, but to have them in situations where failure – and the important lessons that come from it – are an option.

      • March 8, 2012 9:47 AM

        I’m going to post here -with your permission- a post I wrote and never published in my blog… If you consider it interesting I may post it anyway:

        The school is so “XX century”- (en)

        Not a precedent, but today let’s talk about a serious issue…

        Every time I enter in a school, I feel soaked by a wave of nostalgia. Most schools I’ve visited in this 21st century have exactly the same appearance as the schools I attended in the 70’s. The classrooms are the same size. These desks forming the same rows, bulletin boards with the school calendar… even the hallways smell the same. Sure, some classrooms can have now a computer or two, but in many ways, the schools attended by today’s children are indistinguishable from the ones where their parents and grandparents expend their school time.

        Initially, that déjà vu tender my soul. But then I think about it. How many other places keep the same appearance they had in the 20’s, 30’s or 40’s? Banks do not. Hospitals neither. Much less supermarkets. Even churches. Perhaps the sweet scent of nostalgia is really the stench of stagnation. Since most of the other institutions of society have changed dramatically over the past half century, the immobility of the schools is strange. And it is doubly strange because the school itself is a modern invention, not something that we inherited from antiquity.

        There was a time when a young person could learn the secrets of a work that he could use for the rest of his life. This model served as the changes were slow and people were, at the end of their life, doing something similar to what they had learned to do at the begging.

        This does not work in a world where most today’s people are working in a job that did not even exist when they were born. Perhaps still not as dramatic, but we are getting close enough to glimpse the dilemma: If any skills you learn today will be obsolete before you start using them, then what do you really need to learn?

        The answer is obvious: The only long-term competitive ability is the ability to learn.

        So what’s the point? Is that going to school or to learn?

        Going to school was -and still is- the major goal of most of us. The school is the tests, the qualifications and the standards, the note-taking and the meetings. Learning, by contrast, is to “get it”. It is the conceptual breakthrough that allows the student to understand things and then be able to move on. Learning does not care about textbooks or control tests.

        For too long, smart people believed that the school was organized to promote learning. Lately, however, people who know the subject, have realized that school and learning are fundamentally different activities.

        Given the evolving world, and what is to come, it is perfectly conceivable that the current traditional model is simply not up to the times, is obsolete and out of step with the needs of modern life.

        We must forget our nostalgia and get to raise our point of view to a higher level to see this. We have to leave the myopic perspective that is leading us into the abyss. The “solutions” and “reforms” that are constantly discussed are the ideas of the old school, based on a system that is out of date and no longer applies to the world we live. Look around you. Look at the pace of change today, the evolving business landscape and our culture. We are in the midst of significant change. It is not an evolution just a bit “faster” or “new” as in the past 50 years… No, we are in the midst of a significant change on how things happen and how our lives function.

        Those who will “do well” in this world, in fact who will lead this world, are those who would be prepared for it. The development will require strong abilities to “think”, to be able to reason on principles and do so under the light of creative thinking.

        A recent article in the New York Times speaks of “innovation leadership” and entrepreneurs came to the conclusion that “we have to stop thinking.” The business world is paying hundreds of millions of dollars to consultants -the article called “rental brains”- that are able to “innovate” for those businesses, and how innovation is nothing but creative thinking. Apparently simple, but many people is just not prepared to do it “from within the companies.”

        This is one of the main reasons why the “school” reveals itself expired. The school as we have known had a purpose perhaps 50-100 years ago; I’m still not convinced that was the best model, even for those days, however, is a concept completely wrong in the world today.

        We need an educational system to prepare people for today’s world, which means teaching students how to prepare themselves. Do you see the difference? We can not just prepare them for the present, because at the moment they leave by other end of the school pipe twenty years later, they will be already “obsolete”. We must find a way to prepare students for the world to be found at that time, and this is a world that does not exist yet. We must prepare them to solve problems that we have not even identified.

        Is it scary? Not in the least. Everything revolves around a relegated concept called “THINK” and this is a “thing” in which traditional education hasn’t done a good “teaching” job.


        The school is so “XX Century” – Dugutigui

    • March 8, 2012 10:03 AM

      Very interesting post. I’m not sure why you didn’t publish it on your blog. If I were you, I would publish it and then put the link on a number of educational facebook pages so that you can have a good discussion on the points raised.

      I agree with much of it. Karl Fisch wrote “We are currently preparing students for jobs and technologies that don’t yet exist… In order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” However, it is debatable how much this is true and how much we are still stuck in educating for what has already past.

      • March 8, 2012 10:07 AM

        First, I am not using Facebook 🙂
        Second, I will think about… (it’s not really on the line of my blog! )
        Third, I am agreed with your comment!

  200. March 7, 2012 10:33 AM

    I just wanted to ask permission to use this post as part of an extra credit paper. I teach English to seniors in a very rough school/community and I think this would benefit them to see. So many have given up on trying simply for lack of seeing those around them succeed. To see these failures as opportunities would greatly benefit them.

    • March 7, 2012 10:59 AM

      Absolutely! All I ask for anyone who wants to use or share this is a link back to here and attribution where appropriate. I’m trying to be an effective advocate for gifted education and more people reading my work will help that.

      If my thoughts have spoke to you and you believe they will speak to others, please pass them on!

  201. March 7, 2012 11:04 AM

    Reblogged this on Wisdom Within Coaching and commented:
    Interesting title but really interesting content!

  202. Miss Olive permalink
    March 7, 2012 11:05 AM

    Reblogged this on Marisa Hammond Olivares and commented:
    A very interesting and profound perspective. My oldest went through the GT and AP programs in school. She is now a 2nd year college student frustrated by the ‘gimme’ and ‘you owe me’ attitude from some of her colleagues. My youngest is special needs and is not being appropriately challenged to independently succeed. I sit in the middle of two extremes yet I strongly agree with the quote. Despite the intellectual differences in my children I have always wanted them to be challenged and enlightened. To be inquisitive and resourceful. To be open-minded and reflective. The quote, ‘Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy” is a very powerful statement for parents and educators to evaluate. What are we truly enabling our children to be? Interesting blog and cause – glad to follow.

    Marisa Hammond Olivares
    blogger – educator – autism advocate

  203. March 7, 2012 11:06 AM

    Reblogged this on Healthy Creature and commented:
    This is absolutely excellent. I would like to pass it out to parents on parent night.

  204. Lumi St. Claire permalink
    March 7, 2012 11:10 AM

    Bless you for not buying in to the Helicopter Generation of parenting, and growing a cohort of young adults who, at age 22, can’t go into a job interview without their mothers going in the room with them (I wish I were making this up). Thank you for posting this.


  205. March 7, 2012 11:14 AM

    the same concept applies to business! Read Ray Dalio’s Manifesto. You will need to google it.
    Be wonderful!

  206. March 7, 2012 11:16 AM

    Reblogged this on Ken Doyle Speaks and commented:
    Be Bold! Cultivate Failure for Success!

  207. March 7, 2012 11:20 AM

    Reblogged this on Silvyus06's Blog and commented:
    This is something I read.. It is very interesting!

  208. March 7, 2012 11:21 AM

    I think you are spot on! Thanks for putting up this post.

  209. March 7, 2012 11:26 AM

    I keep trying to fail and its not working.. what am I doing wrong?

  210. Ming permalink
    March 7, 2012 11:27 AM

    Reblogged this on Play With Fire-You get Burned and commented:
    As the parent of a gifted child, I totally agree with this article. Too many parents allow their children to get by with average and poor grades. This does not prepare them for the future. I am firm believer in strict “TIGER PARENTING”….

  211. March 7, 2012 11:28 AM

    What a great read. It’s very motivating, which is great during my last semester of college! Thanks

  212. March 7, 2012 11:32 AM

    Although I do admit that failure teaches us how to succeed and helps us learn from our mistakes, I’m not so sure that it’s something we should go about saying we want. It kind of sends the wrong message to our kids.

    Perhaps saying, “I want my kids to succeed, after working hard, seeing what works, what doesn’t, and applying that knowledge,” would cause people to raise their eyebrows less.

    • March 7, 2012 12:19 PM

      It might cause people to not be as concerned, but I believe failure is a necessary part of life. My children are either going to fail when they are young or old. I would prefer that they fail when I can help inspire them to rise above.

      Besides, the title got you here so that you could dialogue with all of us and that is a good thing!

  213. March 7, 2012 11:43 AM

    Reblogged this on thismomsfranticmind.

  214. March 7, 2012 11:48 AM

    Reblogged this on BubbleGum GraveYard and commented:
    I’m going to fail as often as possible.

  215. March 7, 2012 11:52 AM

    Thank you for your wonderful article.

    It may be helpful to read this articles, too.

  216. March 7, 2012 12:08 PM

    I agree with all your points completely. Great post and congrats on getting freshly pressed!

  217. March 7, 2012 12:37 PM

    This is such a great argument for gifted education. Too many bright kids coast through school and then crash when they get to college, because they’ve never learned to study or work hard. And the lessons don’t stop when you’re young. I’m learning all over again that failure teaches many valuable lessons.

  218. March 7, 2012 12:39 PM

    What a great and well written article! For many, this approach woukd be a paradigm shift in their approach to parenting. You set this up perfectly to explain why it’s important to fall down and learn how to pick ourselves up.

  219. March 7, 2012 12:40 PM

    What a great quote to start with – Heinlein shoudl be writing science fiction. This is very brave writing. Protected children grow up to be fearful and averse to risk taking. Times are starting to get tough. We need to be brave, and we needs kids to be intelligent, independent and strong both in body and mind. Especially the gifted ones.

  220. March 7, 2012 12:42 PM

    I really like this. And you were thoughtful enough to qualify your statement, “I want my kids to fail” with “but not to the point where they can’t emotionally continue” or where they can’t afford to “feed, shelter and clothe themselves.” Some of us have had the experience growing up in dysfunctional families who sought to make us fail, not to teach us anything but because our successes in life made them feel like failures. Those are the toxic parents who try to stop their children from succeeding in life.

    But there’s another type of toxic parent–and that is the parent who spoils their child. Maybe they don’t have time to spend with their children and feel guilty. Maybe they think that showering their kids with lots of material possessions will make up for the lost time. Or maybe they actually think that time is unimportant, that material things really are more important than relationships.

    I believe that we humans need a little bit of struggle in our lives. Too much struggle can and will destroy us. I’ve lived in poverty. I’ve been homeless, so I know what I’m talking about here. Too much struggle is not a good thing. However, a little bit of struggle can really build your character.

    My first car was obtained after I’d spent years saving up the money, counting the pennies and searching used dealerships for a reliable car within my budget. It was a struggle, but what really fascinates me is that people I’ve met who’ve had it so much easier are not happier, nor are they appreciative of how relatively easy they’ve had it! In fact, some of these people are actually unhappy in spite of all they have.

    Case in point: an acquaintance of mine whose wealthy family bought him a brand new car. Yep, it was brand, spankin’ new! He was probably about 20 at the time. And guess what? He hated that car. It wasn’t the right brand, not “cool” enough for him, not a “cool” car at all. So he sold it and used the money to buy a better car.

    Yeppers, this guy wasn’t happy. And really he didn’t come across as a happy person at all, not because his parents were abusive or cruel but because of the opposite–they had spoiled him. People like that are unhappy ’cause they don’t know what it’s like to be without a car at all, to stand in pouring rain late at night waiting for a bus that doesn’t show up, to not be free to apply for the job you want ’cause public transportation won’t take you out there, to spend two hours walking home during a blizzard when it’s 20 degrees Fahrenheit and winds gusting to 30 mph, or worse, to nearly get mugged or raped walking home late at night when you can’t afford a cab. After such experiences, any old, battered, used car seems like a luxury. So what if the heater or a/c doesn’t work? So what if there’s no radio? You’ve got wheels! And it feels pretty good. Because after a little bit of struggle you learn to appreciate it so much when things do go well. Sadly, those who have not struggled in life, who’ve had everything just given to them typically appreciate none of it. It doesn’t make them happy or happier. And if anything does ever go wrong in their lives, they typically have no idea of how to handle it.

    • March 7, 2012 1:21 PM

      Reminds me of a time when my youngest son entered college without a car. He got tired of walking everywhere so he went to a junk yard and got parts enough to build it himself. Yes he started with several old wrecked Hondas and put them together to make a unique auto.
      He drove it all through college then parked it in my back yard when he took a job 300 miles away. Without him it did not run anymore so eventually I had it hauled off. Now he can afford any car that he wants but he still laments not having the one that he built with sweat and tears himself!

  221. higashiomok permalink
    March 7, 2012 12:42 PM

    Reblogged this on Onward to Discovery and commented:
    One of the greatest lessons we can learn as children and as adults is failure. This is a must read for all parents, as well as all those who instruct, teach, and put value towards education of any sort.

  222. March 7, 2012 12:54 PM

    I think this is interesting. I think I would phrase it differently but really do agree that without failure you miss out on a lot of learning, especially in the realm of perseverance. I am reblogging and discussing this

  223. March 7, 2012 1:16 PM

    Reblogged this on Leo's Burger and commented:
    Really interesting perspective on raising children. I agree that it is so important for our kids to experience failure on their own or they will have real trouble once they enter the “real world” of adulthood. Positive reinforcement is important, but praising our children for things they should be able to do can also be damaging. As they get older they’ll expect the same praise from other important figures in their lives such as their employer, husband or wife. When this praise is not given they’ll give up too easily and lose all motivation to work for what they have.
    So encourage your children to fail on their own. We can be their greatest supporters but we can’t alway fix their mistakes!
    What do you think?

  224. Taryn Williamson permalink
    March 7, 2012 1:16 PM

    As a 16-year-old, I have to say…that I totally agree with this post 100%. My situation has been a little different. You see, my parents never really pushed me. I was the first born to a pair in their early twenties and they knew nothing. They just wanted me to be happy, so they gave me everything I wanted. Starting when I was just a little girl, I became very overweight, which escalated and escalated until finally, earlier this year, I reached 300 pounds. That was a failure. But I consider myself blessed to have failed. If you fail early in life, you’re that much stronger and that much more successful later in life. Now, I’ve got a head start on all of those skinny little girls who’ve never had any problems.

    P.S. I’m also proud to say that I’m now succeeding. I’m down to 270 at the moment, and counting.

  225. March 7, 2012 1:47 PM

    Reblogged this on jesswgibson.

  226. Thoughts by Jamie permalink
    March 7, 2012 1:51 PM

    Reblogged this on Thoughts by Jamie.

  227. March 7, 2012 2:11 PM

    So true, couldn’t agree with you more.

  228. hnatv permalink
    March 7, 2012 2:37 PM

    Reblogged this on The Sibling Diaries and commented:
    This is a great post! Be sure to read it, it is very true! Kids need to fail.

  229. hnatv permalink
    March 7, 2012 2:40 PM

    I am a college student right now and this post was great. If I had not failed at times in high school and middle school, I would not be who I am as a person and definitely would not be where I am in life right now.
    I think that all parents need to let their kids fail sometimes. It will help them in the long run.

  230. March 7, 2012 2:49 PM

    Excellent post. The day I learned to ride a bike, was the day that I fell at least two times and skinned both knees. That was the day I learned that I had to keep my bike balanced while I pedaled it to keep the bike going down the road.

    “The tests of life are to make, not break us. Trouble may demolish a man’s business but build his character. The blow at the outward man may be the greatest blessing to the inner man. If God, then, puts or permits anything hard in our lives, be sure that the real peril, the real trouble, is what we shall lose if we flinch or rebel.”

    –Maltbie D. Babcock

  231. March 7, 2012 2:59 PM

    I LOVE this post! Thank you for writing it!
    So many parents are so afraid to let their children experience failure at anything.
    My opinion is that if you never let them fail while they are in your care, they will be more likely to be crushed by any failure they experience once they are out of your care. Rather than protecting them from failure, teach them how to overcome it, get beyond it, and grow from it.

  232. March 7, 2012 3:29 PM

    Reblogged this on Thoughts En Route and commented:
    Advice too few take anymore…

  233. Diana Laboy-Rush permalink
    March 7, 2012 3:47 PM

    Reblogged this on Educate to Innovate with STEM and commented:
    Failure is necessary to grow. To deny our students the opportunity to fail is to deny them the chance to reach their true potential. Love this post!

  234. March 7, 2012 4:23 PM

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I totally agree it’s about finding the right balance to help, encourage, strengthen a child to succeed in the long run, but without pandering them too much. The sooner they learn that life isn’t fair and that to achieve takes hard work as well as talent the better. There is no satisfaction on being given everything on a plate. Hunger (not literally) and drive to succeed need to become part of their psyche. Ultimately in the end it is down to the individual itself and we can only hope that as parents we provide them with the right tools to succeed in what ever discipline and path they choose to go down.

  235. esarsea permalink
    March 7, 2012 4:39 PM

    Reblogged this on THE BS BLOG.

  236. March 7, 2012 4:57 PM

    Reblogged this on STILLMOMENT MINISTRY.

  237. March 7, 2012 4:59 PM

    Reblogged this on erinporteous.

  238. blackwatertown permalink
    March 7, 2012 5:07 PM

    Interesting post – well argued.

  239. March 7, 2012 5:18 PM

    I completely and whole-heartedly agree!

  240. March 7, 2012 6:19 PM

    This is an amazing post. It’s something i’m having to teach myself now that failure is ok. I’ve always been afraid of failure and i’m starting to see that letting yourself be stuck and not moving forward with your life out of fear of failure is a thousand times worse than failing a thousand times a thousand.

  241. mbmarble2 permalink
    March 7, 2012 6:41 PM

    Great post! Far to often in today’s society failing is looked at as something that should never be allowed to happen to anyone, but the truth is you don’t learn, if you don’t fail.

  242. March 7, 2012 7:04 PM

    Very well written and something all parents, teachers, and fellow educators should read. Thank you.

  243. March 7, 2012 7:04 PM

    This was a good read, I’m currently a college student nearing graduation and I know what it means to fail. I’ve learned from my own failures, and those of friends and family. What worries me though is the number of students I see every day that seem to have no idea about any of this, and carry on as if everything in life will just be handed to them. Makes for a scary future when I consider that these will be the people that will be taking various roles in society in a few years.

  244. oregonmike98 permalink
    March 7, 2012 8:01 PM

    should have thought of this sooner or paid attention to us kids raised in the late 70’s and 80’s we grew up in world where not everything was fair and even. I saw a girl in collage last week during midterms (im 33 she was about 19) have a complete and utter nervous breakdown because she had to write a whole 3 page essay and 2 more exams to study. She started crying and hyperventilating and it was complete pathetic train wreck…funny as hell to watch. Maybe if parents would actually make their kids achieve and force them to actually try instead of just expecting their kids to be treated fair and equal and only having to put in a little effort but get the best accolades the damn kids would grow up to be adults capable of handling actual pressure instead of screwing them once the kids hit the real word and cant handle anything.

  245. March 7, 2012 8:14 PM

    Reblogged this on thepercicfamily and commented:
    I get to see this from the personal and parenting side, but also from the employer side. Worth a read.

  246. March 7, 2012 8:25 PM

    Reblogged this on À Dieu soit la gloire and commented:
    Great Oist! Thanks for sharing. I will impose the same rule to my toddler…

  247. March 7, 2012 8:44 PM

    Reblogged this on allsmart.

  248. myfriendmissmiller permalink
    March 7, 2012 9:06 PM

    I am VERY tough on my students. Because they are ESL kids, they often pull the “But I don’t speak English!” excuse. I tell them tough luck, get over it. English is never going to change for THEM, they have to change for English. Some teachers in our school baby them and give them all A’s because they “feel bad”. My outlook? Well, at the beginning of the year my kids had the lowest English levels. Now, my kids are scoring higher than native English-speaking students in the district because I don’t lower my expectations. I don’t know if I would say I hope they FAIL, but I give them all of the tools in their hands that they need…. and then I walk away. You can’t give them the tools, then take half of them away and do it yourself because you know you can do a better job. Instead, just watch them and if they can’t build something they way you’d like, then they have to figure out how to fix it for next time.

    Nice article. 🙂

  249. March 7, 2012 9:32 PM

    Great post. Very well said.

  250. March 7, 2012 9:38 PM

    I bless my parents relentlessly because they made me take responsibility for my choices, they would drive me to the library, help with an art project, but if I chose to wait until the last moment, if I was up all night finishing a project that had been assigned weeks ago, so be it. As a result i don’t expect someone to pick up my litter, the clothes from a dressing room floor, or the item I decide i don’t want. I clean up after myself, apologize when my actions cause extra work or hurt someone, and when i agree to do a job I don’t sit around and whine that i will only do a certain amount of work because that’s only how much I’m being paid, my word is my word and I try to do what I say i will. thanks mom and dad for giving me room to fail.

  251. March 7, 2012 9:42 PM

    This is an an excellent piece!! I have never looked at it in that light before. Thank you for showing me a different way to view things. 🙂

  252. Bee - permalink
    March 7, 2012 9:45 PM

    Brilliant article!

  253. March 7, 2012 9:47 PM

    Heyy.. Thank you for sharing this..

    I’m totally agree with “Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy”.
    Several years ago, total number of beggars in Jakarta much lesser than now.
    I believe that this condition must be caused by the kindness of most of the people here.
    The “kind” word has been mistakenly use.
    And now, the income of beggars are higher than workers. No wonder why more people now choose to become a beggar, more people don’t care about the word “dignity” anymore.

    Not giving is also kind when we have intention to teach them how to survive.

    Teaching kids that live is not easy is good, but we also need to encourage them.
    Indonesian, really love to teach by punishment, a lot!
    That’s also not good. If you watch Indonesian Idol and compare it to American Idol, there is a HUGE distinction. We actually have lots of talented singer, but almost all of them have no confidence, even the top 10.

    Once again, thank you for the post, this can teach us how should we teach the next generation and push them to succeed.

  254. March 7, 2012 9:57 PM

    Reblogged this on Indonesia Best Places and commented:

  255. March 7, 2012 9:58 PM

    Reblogged this on Live your Life to the Fullest.

  256. March 7, 2012 10:11 PM

    Hi! I’m Ty!
    I’m 9 years old & oh yeah, I have Down syndrome. I really like your post because my Mom was just pointing out to one of my teachers yesterday, what might be considered a failure by one person, is a victory to another…gonna reblog this awesome post. Thank you for sharing this!
    You rock, dude!

    • March 7, 2012 10:57 PM

      Ty, it sounds like you and your mom are very wise. The measure of a man is not how he competes with others, but how he uses the ability that he has. Always push to do your best and you will be a success even if others can’t see it.

      I’m proud to have you as a reader!

  257. March 7, 2012 10:12 PM

    Reblogged this on .

  258. March 7, 2012 10:20 PM

    Reblogged this on Girlfriend's Guide 2 Homeschooling and commented:
    You have to read this! It’s so thought provoking and may challenge yourself!

  259. March 7, 2012 10:29 PM

    ”Failure is the best teacher known to man. Fore, it even teaches those who don’t wish to learn.” – John Nietzche, Successful Myths About Success

    Keep up the good work, friend.

  260. ASHOK M VAISHNAV permalink
    March 7, 2012 10:40 PM

    Can we make this a slightly positive message – I want my children to succeed only if they deserve [or have worked hard for it]!

  261. March 7, 2012 10:46 PM

    Reblogged this on tutordoctorwny01 and commented:
    Part of being a writer is recognizing when someone else has succeeded and sharing that work with others. I can now safely say that I want my children to fail, too.

  262. March 7, 2012 10:54 PM

    Reblogged this on Wanderlust and commented:
    wise words

  263. rere27 permalink
    March 7, 2012 11:18 PM

    that is great! I suggest reading Do Hard Things.

  264. March 7, 2012 11:18 PM

    Reblogged this on Sweetie Pie and commented:
    I’m testing out the Reblog feature because I am still nose-deep in work. This is a great post, not just for parents, but everyone, especially Hustlepreneurs. Sometimes we have to learn what works best through the process of elimination. Take care, Sweetie Pies. I’ll be back tomorrow!

  265. March 7, 2012 11:55 PM

    Thank you for this — I’ve tried explaining this to others, and you do it better than I have.


  266. Mariajose permalink
    March 8, 2012 12:11 AM

    Unfortunately technology and the many resources available now are making this so hard. It’s crazy how we, as students, think of google, as the place for answers on a take home test, or on a word we didn’t understand, on how to come up with a resume.

    Our brain is molding to remember where we can find the answer not how we can find it.

    Oftentimes, I refuse to use google and I read books on my own to figure things out. I acknowledge when I make mistakes because they are my responsibility and I should be able to learn from them. If I see myself fall downhill, I should be ready to climb back up.

    It’s disgusting how oftentimes parents want to treat their children like little kids, even when they’re 15, or even past 20. I remember a lady once told me she didn’t want her daughter to even get close to the stove because she was scared that she would ever get burned by hot oil. Her daughter is about to graduate high school. It’s ridiculous. How is that girl ever going to have a home where she doesn’t ever have to cook?

    Great post.

  267. March 8, 2012 12:22 AM

    Great Post!

  268. March 8, 2012 1:05 AM

    Not a parent, but I work with little kids, and I FREAKING LOVE THIS.

  269. March 8, 2012 1:46 AM

    You make a great point. Thanks for the article!

  270. March 8, 2012 1:56 AM

    Great points! The outcome of succeeding after it’s been a struggle and you’ve have previous failures is so much more rewarding than if it comes easy.

  271. March 8, 2012 2:21 AM

    As a middle school teacher and as a parent, I have to say it’s great that I’m not alone in believing failure is one of the biggest steps towards success. Thanks for the post!

  272. March 8, 2012 3:52 AM

    This is an amazing article you have written. It true the more we help them the more they become lazy. they do not know the hardships they have to face in live and this is also the cause of depression when they do not achieve something they thought they would. And yes the value of money as well …keep writing interesting things….:)

  273. March 8, 2012 4:08 AM

    great ,really every parent should know and guide kids . let them taste success of their hard work and attitude

  274. March 8, 2012 4:14 AM

    really , this blog helps us

  275. March 8, 2012 4:15 AM

    Failur is the only path to sucess. I have never learned anything from my sucess but oh so many things from my failure.

  276. March 8, 2012 4:19 AM

    Great post. I think your post makes some rather interesting, straightforward, and valid points about raising/parenting children and also about children’s education. I think it is extremely important for children to learn through out the different stages of their childhood/life that things are not easy and it takes so much to succeed. I think children should be able to make mistakes because by making a mistake-a child will then learn the very valuable lesson of right versus wrong-and figuring out that path. If a child gets taught or raised with the false conception that life is easy-it will be much more difficult growing up and facing reality when various obstacles or hardships arise. I do think it is exceedingly important for children to have a great, happy, and “carefree” childhood/life in a certain sense/situations/contexts. However, that does not mean nor imply to teach/raise the child into thinking that life is always easy as that is merely not true.

  277. March 8, 2012 4:36 AM

    So very true! I think many societal problems raise from our ‘bubble’ culture. What do we discover, and fail, when growing up? The euphemism ‘silver platter’ was invented for a reason!
    Congrats on the FP! Well deserved!

  278. March 8, 2012 4:36 AM

    Very true. Failure can be a blessing in disguise.

  279. March 8, 2012 5:03 AM

    Reblogged this on ikabundajoy's blog and commented:
    I [also] Want My Kids to Fail

  280. March 8, 2012 5:23 AM

    My parents never allowed me to fail. They always tried to pick up the slack. In the long run, it didn’t do me much good! I didn’t learn to cope with failure. You have a very good point!

  281. Jeric Lawrence Mina permalink
    March 8, 2012 6:02 AM

    Reblogged this on The Young Historians and commented:
    This is why you need to fail sometimes. And that is why things have to get more and more difficult.

  282. March 8, 2012 6:24 AM

    Reblogged this on thegypsyandthecat.

  283. March 8, 2012 7:14 AM

    Nowadays,the children have been much spoiled,they should have some failure for dressing their cuisines everyday and for adding more color in their palettes

  284. March 8, 2012 8:07 AM

    Thanks for the post. Helicopter Parents are sowing seeds of their children depending on them for years and years to come. Saving your kids from pain now is going to cause you much pain in the future.

  285. March 8, 2012 8:23 AM

    Simply true! I got my masters degree in Pedogogics and worked as an educationalist in the Netherlands….can only confirm the above 🙂

  286. March 8, 2012 8:59 AM

    Yours is a nice problem to have. When one of your children has a disability, perspective is part and parcel of the whole educational process for gifted and a disabled children in the same family. And, perhaps most importantly, success and failure are redefined every day.

  287. March 8, 2012 9:11 AM

    I teach a college success course to first year students and just blogged about a similar philosophy yesterday. It isn’t always easy to be tough and allow students to struggle (and fail) but it is absolutely necessary to their success.

  288. March 8, 2012 9:35 AM

    great post!

  289. March 8, 2012 9:52 AM

    Reblogged this on Dilettante.

  290. March 8, 2012 9:59 AM

    Reblogged this on Evan Deasey and commented:
    You just got rebloged mother. How does that make you feel?

  291. Jamie-Lee McFadden permalink
    March 8, 2012 10:00 AM

    Great article and I completely agree with you on it. We as a people are teaching children that if things are difficult don’t bother. We need to instil in the youth that they should want and crave a challenge. The easy way is the boring way hands down. I believe the path less traveled is the best path.

  292. March 8, 2012 10:09 AM

    So long as they are not emotionally devastated by failure after failure to the point they give up, and take their own lives (b4 ur able to do anything about it), then great! But what if they do… I think you have a little bit more thinking to do.

  293. Jaina64 permalink
    March 8, 2012 10:25 AM

    Can I use this blog entry as a reference for my daughter’s blog? I’ll give full credit to your content. She’s special needs with epilepsy/autism. I was just thinking about the same topic. How easy life would be for her if I just did everything for her and handed her everything, but she wouldn’t learn and wouldn’t have her own experiences and wouldn’t be able to function in a society that demands so much. I can’t shelter her forever. Come on over and view it, any feedback is appreciated, although I won’t use your content until you give permission.

    • March 8, 2012 10:32 AM

      Absolutely, Jaina! I look forward to reading your post. So much of what we do is parents is to have our children try their wings until they can fly!

  294. March 8, 2012 10:50 AM

    Reblogged this on Live.Hope.Love.Laughter. and commented:
    Awesome read. Thank you for this fantastic posts. You have opened up my eyes to a whole new perspective. LOVES!

  295. March 8, 2012 10:58 AM

    I have led an easy life and as I grew up I do not know much about life, society, how to’s, and other stuff. I’ve had a really good education but somehow it feels empty and incomplete. Right now feels like adolescent stage again where I’m learning all the things I should have learned a long time ago. Great blog. My kids (when I have one) will learn it the hard way. (:

  296. March 8, 2012 11:07 AM

    Great post! Failure also teaches us that we are human — as we are in the season of Lent, we are mindful that “we are dust, and to dust we shall return.” Thanks for the reminder.

  297. March 8, 2012 11:15 AM

    Wonderful observation and worthy goal. Most relevant here is that you are there to help them back up while they are learning. Failure and effort are both necessary to growth, and wanting something that you have to work for is necessary too.
    If your efforts are rewarded with positive results, that is, when you try you are encouraged to keep trying, and when you succeed, you are praised for your efforts to get there, and rewarded with acknowledgement that the effort was worth it, then you will grow and move forward.

    If the effort is not rewarded, once it’s made, or ends up with a negative feedback, then growth diminishes, and efforts in that front turn aside.

    I believe that this lack of reward for effort and lack of encouragement to get real results with a positive feedback when they get them may have something to do with the increase in Autism and spectrum disorders. We cater to our little children too much, and prevent them from having to do anything for themselves during critical growth periods.

  298. March 8, 2012 11:22 AM

    I’m so glad to find this – I have long disliked the practice of giving every child a “participation” trophy at the end of an athletic season, or giving “phony” certificates during an academic awards ceremony. I’m not saying that I don’t think children should be praised or rewarded – but I believe they should earn praise and rewards. Too many children today feel like they “deserve” good grades, or a good job, or an allowance, without having to put forth any effort to obtain these things. My oldest daughter has an after-school job in a fast food establishment, and management is always astounded by her work ethic. It’s sad that she stands out among her peers – not because she’s not a hard worker, because she works very hard; but because her peers do not put any effort or care into anything, and do as little as possible to get by. This post makes me feel like maybe I’m not such a slave-driver as my childrens’ friends have convinced them that I am. This post makes me feel like I’ve done my kids a favor after all, by forcing them to work for rewards, live up to expectations, and accept consequences. Thank you!

  299. March 8, 2012 11:25 AM

    Reblogged this on heathermcamp and commented:
    This blogger has very eloquently addressed a subject about which I feel very strongly.

  300. March 8, 2012 11:27 AM

    I reblogged this at

  301. March 8, 2012 11:42 AM

    Reblogged this on So Let That Be My Story.

  302. March 8, 2012 12:02 PM

    Reblogged this on dmaportland and commented:
    DMA Portland: The necessity of Failure

  303. myhomelifemag permalink
    March 8, 2012 12:05 PM

    This is a great post, all the youth in our nation should read this. Thanks so much for sharing!

  304. March 8, 2012 12:11 PM

    I was just wondering if you have used online education to help your gifted students. I think it is a wonderful way for students to experience that possibility of failure when it is done right. I say that because I have a number of students who take my courses as gifted extensions, and often it is one of their first experiences with frustration. The result is that since they have rarely if ever had to cope with struggle in education before, the really have to challenge themselves to learn how to learn. I love love love helping them learn and grow to be not just gifted but self sufficient learners who push themselves to be the best they can.

    Thanks for the article.
    Christine Gregory

  305. aj2015 permalink
    March 8, 2012 1:09 PM

    Reblogged this on The Undergrad in the Corner and commented:
    I can even begin to describe how full of truth this is. Sometimes, failure is crucial. It was only because I fell into academic probation last semester that I’ve become such a better student this semester. Seeing my failing grades was a hard, somewhat painful wake-up call, and since then I’ve taken my studies far more seriously than I think I ever would have if I’d coasted through that first semester.

  306. March 8, 2012 1:32 PM

    This is such an important message to get out there – only by failing can we succeed! Thanks for your post!

  307. March 8, 2012 1:33 PM

    All the helicopter parents need to read this and get their act together for those kids who don’t know how to prepare themselves for the real world because Mommy and Daddy did everything for them. You always learn from failures and hard times, it’s how life works. You learn from those mistakes, find out about yourself. That’s what failure is good for.

  308. March 8, 2012 1:42 PM

    Failure is good. Indeed it is. And the lessons learned from each failure only propel us closer to success. I count the times I fail just so that I will know and be reassured that success is even closer.

  309. March 8, 2012 1:44 PM

    Interesting and very honest idea. I’m not sure too many people would have the guts to write a post like this. Awesome job.

  310. March 8, 2012 1:46 PM

    This is great information. I totally agree that as parents it is imperative that we do not trap out children into thinking like in a fairy tale… that everything has a happy ending.

  311. March 8, 2012 2:24 PM

    Reblogged this on Suzanne's Blog and commented:
    I ran across this post today. It was a light bulb moment. Sometimes I cannot put into words the things I want to say. I’m currently in a functional anatomy class and had a practical this week. I signed up to go first so I wouldn’t have to worry all day. The teacher lectured us first about how we want to fail while in class. That this was the safe place to do it rather than when we get out on our fieldwork. I sat there the whole time thinking FAIL! I think not, I can’t fail and so on and so forth. I wanted him to just get on with the practical so I could burp out my knowledge and get it over with! Fate put this blog post in my line of sight today. I get it now. (not that I want to fail Dr. D!!!! It would give me a CVA!)
    The thoughts in this post are how I have tried to raise my daughter. Learning has always come easy to her. I have tried to push her up since kindergarten. She is now in middle school. I am going to have her read this post so we can discuss why I make her try different things!
    I do not want her to be like her mother. Middle aged and no life because I never tried anything that I wasn’t 100% sure I could do.

  312. March 8, 2012 10:13 PM

    Last year, my son made unkind comments about “poor black kids”, with the clear suggestion that he was superior. I took him out of school for a week and showed him what it would be like to be homeless. We slept in a car (an 20 year old car) for a week, in the cold, and ate peanut butter sandwiches and beans, a mere $2.50 a day for the two of us. We worked as many shifts as we could get at the local Salvation Army, Garden of Hope Cafe, serving meals to those who could not support themselves, young and old, black and white, familes, drug addicts, and some with devastating mental illnesses. He learned that you cannot do nice things for other people and hate them; you can’t put a face to a people (black or white) and say unkind things about them; and you can’t stereotype the disadvantaged. He learned to appreciate the diversity of people and to care about others in need, and we created a memory that he will remember for a lifetime. Sometimes you have to experience adversity to appreciate the life you have or the life you can create.

    • March 9, 2012 11:18 PM

      This was a very good thing you did for your child. Now, I believe he will grow up being a thankful caring person.

  313. March 9, 2012 1:32 AM

    Reblogged this on jemrock.

  314. March 9, 2012 9:56 AM

    Just amazing and thought provoking. What an inspiration this was and a valid point for all those parents out there (including myself) who are overly afraid of seeing their kids fail and to see them disappointed.

  315. March 9, 2012 12:17 PM

    Yes! Failure is the best teacher, so unless you want your kids to be dumb, you better hire the help (failure that is).

    This is just such a challenging concept to introduce in a culture of over achievers.

  316. yourroofmatters permalink
    March 9, 2012 6:00 PM

    Great post. Wish everyone would read this.

    • March 9, 2012 11:12 PM

      I believe that true failure is when you fall down and do not try to get back up. Great diligence keeps one moving towards their goals and aspirations.

  317. March 10, 2012 3:48 AM

    Reblogged this on The Wandering Glitch and commented:
    Very true comments. Fearlessness is a hard thing to teach a child.

  318. timomarquez permalink
    March 10, 2012 5:44 PM

    excellent article so true to apply to many aspects of children while growing up, at the same time is important for the parents to be conscious of the importance of failure as to put perspective to the child.

  319. March 10, 2012 6:09 PM

    This seems to have struch a chord, and it does with me too. When my daughter was 1.5 years old, and had just started to run, I was running down a concrete pathway with her. The pathway was gradually getting steeper, and I thought to myself that there was no way she could run all the way down without falling and somewhat hurt herself. So, what do you do? Do you stop her before that happens? She was running there and laughing and having a good time. I didn’t stop her. Sure enough, she fell, started crying, I picked her up, brushed some gravel off her knees and comforted her. The crying didn’t last more than two minutes. When we returned a month after, she could run the whole pathway down without falling.

    Now, she does scary things now and then, but I’ve already learnt to trust her, she is actually at the age of 3 very careful, but still pushing her limits constantly. Obviously scary for us parents, but hardly dangerous, and besides, as a (former) climber, I’m used to looking out for and assessing the real hazards.

    I want to buy a hut near a big mountain, and then I want to teach my kids to love the outdoors (they already do). This mountain needs to be so difficult that they cannot attain the summit before they are say 15-16 years old and have developed sufficient skills and experience to do so. But still, we’ll try and fail several times to build these experiences, and that this is a quest that they will learn to live with for large parts of their childhood.

  320. reallifeallyson permalink
    March 12, 2012 6:35 PM

    I am so glad that you are spreading this sentiment. Hopefully more parents will listen to you, because protecting our kids from failure and doing everything for them is a sure recipe for disaster. When do we expect them to learn the hard lessons, when they are married with three kids? or maybe when they are deciding our foreign policy? No way! Let them learn not only to fail, but to think for themselves so they can help us get out of the mess our world is in right now and so they can have a personally satisfying life. I know it’s hard for us parents, but it a great gift to our children.

  321. March 12, 2012 11:23 PM

    This is so well said! I am a kindergarten teacher and I see parents coddling their children, holding their bag, putting on their jacket, helping them put away their things. Rarely do they get the privilege of making mistakes. It is such disservice to children. That is why, in the classroom, they are often frozen in their tracks, literally, when something goes wrong or they are not quite sure what to do.

    In my classroom, I try to make sure the kids have as much responsibility as they can. They’ll also have ownership over small tasks for the class. Putting away things, delivering messages, setting up things. Sometimes I wonder if this is going to help them because when they go home, parents, grandparents and household helpers undo what is happening in the classroom.

  322. March 13, 2012 5:19 AM

    A translation in Portuguese can be found in
    Eduardo Martinho (Lisbon, Portugal)

  323. March 13, 2012 10:10 PM

    My line as a teacher to helicopter parents: If you don’t let them fall down, how will they ever learn to get back up by themselves? Thank you for this insightful article.

  324. 20sd permalink
    March 18, 2012 6:05 PM

    i agree completely. i don’t know when the world ecame so scared of letting kids experience anything remotely negative. don’t let kids compete cause the losers will feel bad? that just prevents anyone from being able to take pride in their achievements. both winners and losers suffer because neither has an incentive to try. don’t let toddlers near anything unsanitary? they’re supposed to be exposed to germs, that’s how the immune system learns to fight them.

  325. R. Nuytten permalink
    April 6, 2012 10:27 AM

    All children are gifted, and if we don’t think so, we’re not looking in the right places, or willing to accept that they are. For all children, there’s nothing better than the feeling of freedom and the realization that personal responsibility and effort will lead to success, and yes this is preceded by failure, but children also need to play and explore the natural consequences of free play. If they are emulating our lives when they are five, we’ve gone wrong somewhere.

    • April 6, 2012 8:26 PM

      All children are gifts and all children have strengths and weaknesses, but not all children are gifted. If you go with Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences (8) and go with NAGC’s 5-7% of the population is gifted, you still only get 40-56% if there were absolutely no overlap.

      I firmly reject the “All children are gifted” because it is a line used to justify not providing academically advanced services to the students who need it. Some students are more intelligent than others and see things differently. Just like not every athlete gets a varsity letter, we shouldn’t lie to kids and tell them that everyone is gifted.

      It is adults who typically remove the natural consequences of free play. In free play, there is failure. There are winners and losers. Adults step in to prevent failure and reward everyone equally. Even at five, there are important lessons to be learned.

      • R. Nuytten permalink
        April 6, 2012 10:36 PM

        Segregated so-called “gifted” education so often pretends to support advanced education for students, yet they are socially and emotionally unable to integrate themselves into regular social settings, because they have been excluded…in fact segregated from inclusive education. In a Universal Design of Learning model, all students are challenged to meet their individual potential. That includes students who may perform well on historically valued intelligence vehicles.

        Five year-old children need free play not the artificial competition of testing.

      • April 7, 2012 12:05 AM

        I recommend you read

        Gifted students are often excluded and ostracized in the heterogeneous classroom. The find few other students who understand them. Gifted students need others similar to them. At a minimum, gifted students need a cluster of other advanced learners in the classroom.

        There are many educational frameworks like UDL, differentiation, and the Pyramids of Intervention that look good on paper but fail in implementation. In a classroom study, researchers found that a vast majority of subjects were not actually differentiated even when that was the district policy. If differentiation worked as well in practice as it did in theory, many parents of gifted learners would be satisfied. Instead, we see our children get ignored as they review what they already know.

  326. Mona Cheah permalink
    June 10, 2012 3:38 AM

    My child failed in her examinations. How do we use this as a teachable moment and encourage her to pick herself up and work to not fail the next time?

    • June 11, 2012 4:53 PM

      Mona, what I try to do with my kids is to examine why the failure happened. It’s best if they can arrive at the conclusion with your guiding questions instead of feeling like it is the parents being out of touch with reality. Once they understand the reasons that they failed, you can work together to come up with a plan to succeed in the future. Having concrete steps is much more encouraging than a nebulous “study more and try harder” because you are taking action towards success. However, even following an action plan doesn’t guarantee success. Sometimes the reason for failure is different than believed and not addressed. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to understand what level of action is needed. The more your daughter can internalize the motivation to succeed and the action plan to get there, the better equipped she will be to succeed in this challenge and future ones.

  327. July 24, 2012 4:10 AM

    Clearly you have to be a good parent and have provided your child/children with a solid upbringing before you can go ahead and wish to see them fail when they are grown. Any absentee parent should not be posting this however if that’s not the case I agree with this article entirely.

  328. April 13, 2013 3:08 PM

    When my oldest son left for Berkeley he said to me “Mom, thanks for never being one of those helicopter parents. You understood not to do that. That was cool.” My heart smiled. SO agree with you. We actually have a song on this theme called “Messy”. All about how much we learn when we fall and then get up. Thank you for this 🙂

  329. August 2, 2013 7:42 AM

    This is the time to learn through failure how to succeed.Great information for kids.

  330. Tracy R permalink
    May 4, 2016 10:52 AM

    Just wish I could have known this 26 years ago! I only wanted to give my children everything I did not have.. I resented how my parents made me work for everything, how they never gave me anything, how I had to work my butt off to buy my first car ($1200) & clothes, makeup, etc etc… Now that I look back at my two grown boys in their 20s, I realize the gift of independence my parents gave me. That’s what gave me my hunger, that’s what drove me to survive and to become someone successful..
    I have stolen that spark of finding passion for each child’s individual life by spoiling them and giving them everything..
    I believe that’s what we have done to this generation…
    Regret is what I will live with.. And respect that I have for my parents, I wish I could have told them..


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