02 August 2019
This week Samantha Wells, Olympic Aerial Skier, visited our school to speak to the Secondary students. As she shared her experiences as an Olympic athlete, she recounted a disastrous fall while attempting a difficult jump. She was shaken, embarrassed and afraid but pushed through to try again. She said, “Sometimes our greatest achievement comes in the wake of the most spectacular fall.”
This profound truth is evident in sport, in learning, in the workplace and in all aspects of our lives. It’s easy to see a failure as final. Our default setting may be to let failure define us. The truth is we all fail and what defines us is what we do after we fail. We reveal our character through the grit, determination and courage that we show when we stand up, dust ourselves off and try again.
As parents and teachers, it can be heartbreaking to see our children fail. Our instant response is to rescue them. When we go into rescue mode, we deny our children the opportunity to learn and develop self-efficacy. Every child needs an advocate who can walk beside them, coach them through their emotions and cheer them on to try again.
The Bible talks about failures and challenging times. Romans 5:3-4 says «Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope.” The deep truth of this statement is that as we embrace failure and push through, we become stronger, smarter and more capable. And the result of this growth of character is that we are filled with hope.
The next time your child fails, I challenge you to give them the gift of space to grow, succeed and develop a sense of achievement. And by the way, do you model grit and determination when you fail?
When the world says, “Give up”, hope whispers, “Try it one more time!” Michelle Bengston