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Failure is Good For Us!





Varsha Prasad, Editor, TeacherTribe.world





 

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill


We have all been taught, from when we were children, to succeed, to work hard and to achieve something in life. We are trained to score good marks, top the class, secure a good job and embrace success. This is usually the curve that parents and teachers want out of children.


It is good to have a growth mindset, but does it always involve winning? Do failures, missteps and non-performances count in a person’s success story? I personally fell that it is the stories of failure and the learnings from it, that make successful people. If this is so, why aren’t people, especially children from a young age, taught or prepared on facing and handling failure? Why are success stories always about glory and achievement and not about struggles and road humps?


Here is something I witnessed recently at a summer camp for kids. On the last day of the summer camp, there were many competitions held and prizes given away. I noticed one of the mothers pampering the child. I heard her promising the child that she would buy her new dolls, a few chocolates and will take her out on a vacation, just because the child had not won any of the competitions and was throwing a fuss. On the other hand, another parent was scolding the child for not performing well and losing out on the prizes.


Are we, as parents and teachers sending the wrong message to children? Is wining the only aim in life? It becomes our responsibility as guardians and caregivers to teach children about both success and failure and how to handle both of them. While success should not make a person arrogant, failures should not make a person underconfident. Though success should be the goal, failures, like road humps, are necessary to reach destination called success.


What can teachers do?


Teachers play a crucial role in the learning process. Children in classrooms enjoy small joys and small achievements. While the child winning or achieving something should be appreciated for their efforts, the others need to be motivated to do better and made to understand that not winning something doesn’t equate to failure. It just means that we have another opportunity to perform better. 


An effort needs to be made from both the parents’ and the teachers’ end to develop a learning culture. When a child does not succeed in performing a task or finishing something given to them, the child should be taught to reflect and understand what they learnt out of not finishing the assigned task, instead of how wrong they were or how incompetent they have been. 


The next step of this can be examining the steps where they went wrong, to improve upon it next time. For example, if a child does not perform well in a singing competition, they can look back at their performance and examine the areas where they have gone wrong and improvise it for the next performance. 


These exercises will help children reflect upon themselves and they will start evaluating their weaknesses and strengths. It will also help develop positive children with a futuristic outlook. 


Thomas Edison is one of the best examples to show how a person can learn and achieve something, despite multiple failures. His quote, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” shows his attitude towards taking his mistakes in the positive stride. 


Let us make sure we nurture happy children who are optimistic and learn from their mistakes. Let us make sure we cultivate a learning attitude and embrace failures as leading lights towards success. 


Do you agree with me on embracing failures and success equally? Share your thoughts with me on varsha@greycaps.com.

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