We live in a world of duality. An old saying from India says that someone who was born blind will never know what darks looks like, because he has never seen the light.
The message is that you can never know one thing, without having experienced the opposite. There is no dark without light, no poor without rich, no big without small, no fat without skinny, no intelligence without stupidity, no fun without boredom, no warmth without cold, no new year without an old year and no success without failing.
I personally hope my child will be a successful human being (by the way, successful according to her own rules, not according to my rules), and realize that success is impossible without the experience of failure.
I see many parents trying to prevent their children from making mistakes, such as buying cheap toys or bad parenting or career choices. Many parents don’t realize that making mistakes is inherent to becoming successful. There is no success without failure!
Also, if you continue to meddle with your child’s choices, you risk the quality of the relationship with your child. The older children get, the more they usually resent any interference from their parents.
But then what can you do? Just sit back and watch your child make all the stupid mistakes you have made too, even if making those mistakes is detrimental to their health or wellbeing?
In my opinion, real danger (life or health) is an exception. I won’t allow my child to leave the house minus 10 degrees Celsius wearing underwear only. But that’s about it. I want her to make as many mistakes as possible, so she will learn from them and become more and more independent. Recently, she demonstrated this with a nice example.
She was doing an online math program. The fact is, is that my daughter thinks faster than average. At times she thinks so fast, that she thinks she gets it, when in fact, she doesn’t. Sometimes, she forgets to take the time to think and at those times she often makes unnecessary mistakes. I was sitting next to her while she was engaged with the math program. I must confess I was feeling shocked and frustrated. My very bright child was making mistakes with very easy calculations. Not because they were too difficult, but because she was TOO fast!
I wanted to tell her to: “Calm down for a moment and take your time to read first!”, but I didn’t tell her that, even though it was difficult not too, and I let her make her own MISTAKES. The program presented those mistakes by showing nice graphs and told her how many times she had tried before she succeeded.
And that was VERY confrontational of course!
I took my responsibility and was ready to pick her up. I said to her: “You hate making mistakes in those easy calculations, don’t you?” Thereby, I was showing her that I was there for her and that I acknowledged the fact that she hated to go through it.
Then, something magical started happening. Not only did she confirm how she felt, she also allowed me to stay with her while she was making those silly mistakes and out of her mouth came the following words: “Well, in the future, I need to carefully read the question first before I decide to do anything”. My mouth fell open with surprise. I had no better way of saying it and to me, it confirms the statement: making mistakes is not to be avoided, as there is no success without failure.
Michael Jordan made the following statement once: “I have failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeeded”. Now I know for sure: making mistakes is part of the road to success! I wish you a lot of mistakes!!!