Helping Your Kids Fail Forward

Pastor Dave

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” Romans 5:3 (NLT)

I played little league baseball for the first time when I was 8 years old. To be honest, I wasn't very good. One day after striking out for what seemed like the millionth time, I sat in the dugout and burst into tears. The coach and some of the other players tried to comfort me, but I pushed them away. I was embarrassed. Thankfully, my parents showed up to check on me. I took a break to walk with them.

As we circled the perimeter of the baseball diamond, they didn't say a whole lot. They mostly just listened. When they did speak, they encouraged me to get back in the game and try again. My parents taught me how to handle failure gracefully, and I hope I can do the same for my kids. Here are four simple ways to walk your children through failure:

1.  Remind your child failure is a part of life. Everyone endures failure. Help them understand failure is a universal human experience.

2.  Don't rush in and try to fix it. Let the situation teach them. By allowing our kids to experience the gift of failure and find a solution for themselves, we're teaching them how to overcome failure.

3. Monitor their self-talk. Make sure failure doesn't define their self-worth. Watch your child's posture and listen to his or her words to see what conclusions they draw about themselves. Remind them that failing doesn't make them a failure.

4. Grant them an opportunity to grow. Today's verse tells us that problems and trials (I count failures among them!) help us develop endurance and Godly character. This was the best lesson my parents taught me, by far, because I learned that God's power gives me the strength to overcome failure. As a result, I can have confidence in my abilities and in the God who gave me those abilities. Your kids can, too.

After that walk with my parents, I played baseball for two more years, and each year I improved. I overcame my failures by dusting myself off and trying again…and again…and again…until I got a hit. If we support our children when they fail, I think they'll remember we're always on their team; and they'll realize they're stronger than they know.

Digging Deeper:

  • 1.Have you encountered a situation where you walked with your child through failure? Share your experience with the myPOW community.
  • 2.What can you do this week to encourage your child in his or her weakness?

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