We are Destined to Fail … Now What?

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Our kids will fail … embrace it.

 

This is a story of two brothers. 

One had his fair share of struggles:

Speech delays, Fine motor issues, ADHD, Anxiety, Reading fluency issues …

The other did not.

One felt like every setback that could happen did happen.

The other did not.

One kept me up nights, sitting with him through his anxiety until he fell asleep, and then awake with my own anxiety.

The other slept peacefully.

Both brothers got by— one just needed a lot more support.

Now both of these boys are off in college.

My son who struggled still has challenges, but when they come, he manages them. He is a list maker. He plans ahead. He needs to talk through his action plan out loud in order to process it, and I get lots of calls where he just needs a sounding board. But he is achieving. He has a strong handle on things, and when he stumbles, he gets right back up and keeps going.

My son who coasted is doing fine, too. But challenges throw him. He isn’t used to failure, and when he doesn’t do as well as expected, his gut response is to bail. Didn’t get chosen to be on the Improv travel team? Maybe he’s too busy for the Improv Club right now. Worked for six hours on a stand-up comedy routine that fell flat at auditions? Maybe he’ll come home this weekend instead of performing at the show. Failure doesn’t feel good, and he doesn’t want to be around it.

One son has learned coping skills.

The other has not … yet

It’s never too late to learn how to fail.

One son learned early, and often. 

The other did not. 

I used to be grateful that my oldest coasted so easily … and wished hard for my second son to do the same. Now that they’ve grown, I see the value in the struggles. I see the lessons learned and the maturity gained. 

When I think back on how much time I spent wishing my children wouldn’t struggle, fail, or be disappointed … I was wishing for the wrong things. Now, I wish I could reach back through time and whisper to my anxious self: 

Embrace the Struggles

It’s not about avoiding life’s challenges, it’s about pushing through them. It’s asking “Now what?”. Yes, you failed / lost / struggled … now what? Because failing isn’t the end, it’s just a new beginning. Facing challenges leaves an imprint on your character. How you handle stressors becomes how you handle life. 

Moms, those kids who keep you up at night, head racing, heart hurting … they’re learning. They’re growing. You can’t take their failures and struggles away, but you can be the one to ask them, “Now what?”

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Carol Kerber
Carol is married with four kids, who range in age from 10 to 20-years-old. She moved to St. Louis when she was 12, and except for four years living in Southern California as a newlywed, she’s lived here since. As a Mizzou graduate, Carol began her post-college career in publishing, and then switched gears to teach early elementary. Since having kids, she has been lucky enough to stay home with them. The Kerbers call Castlewood Stables in Ballwin their home, and all of their neighbors run around on four legs. While this lifestyle seems a bit foreign to her nature, being part of the STL Mom team is just the opposite. Carol has always loved to write but had never really given that dream wings until now. Being part of the St. Louis Mom team fulfills both the editor and writer in her spirit, and she gets to write about what she knows best: being a mom.

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