Yesterday my little guy experienced a great disappointment. He did not make his school's basketball team. This has been a goal he set for himself even before entering Middle School this year. He has been practicing and honing his skills mostly because he genuinely loves basketball and wants to be better, but I also believe he wanted to be sure he was ready.
After two days of intense, exhausting try-outs he found out yesterday he didn't make it!
My initial gut reaction as a parent was to try to make him feel better. You know…all those things you say as a parent…
"I'm so proud of you for trying."
"I know you did your absolute best and that's what counts."
"You can try again next year and then you will be even better."
Instead I decided to tell him I was sorry and if he wanted to talk about it I was here to listen. I respected the fact he didn't want to talk about it right away.
It's so painful to see your child sad and disappointed. Yet, I know this will be the first of many.
What I know is that failures and disappointments will come. There really is no avoiding it and I don't think they should be avoided. It's important for children to fail and for children to see us fail. Great ideas, resilience and innovation are born from failures.
I love this quote by Thomas Edison, “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” Brilliant!
Your attitude and what you do after failed attempts is what's important.
Do you just give up or use failure as an opportunity to learn, explore new possibilities and get right back at it.
I'm happy to say my little guy chose the latter and I couldn't be prouder.
I'm curious…how do you handle your child's failures or disappointments?