“The greatest teacher, failure is.”
I was recently on a date with my husband because I thoroughly believe that we cannot stop dating and appreciating our time with our spouse. Of course this meant that I was going to sneak in deep, meaningful conversation about feelings into our date- for all those single folks let this be a warning to you on what happens when you marry a counselor! I was looking at my husband, and I couldn’t help but see a highly successful man. No, I’m not referring to his job, while that was something I admired, I saw a person that was able to balance success of family and career. A person that put his family first, but was a model employee that had achieved many of his grand aspirations. I couldn’t help realize we all have 2 paths that we can take in life, and realized that he had chosen a path that was admirable. It led me to ask him what it was that helped shape him into the person he is today. He immediately replied, “adversity.” It seemed like an odd answer, so he elaborated that his childhood and life were not always easy, and it was from these experiences that he learned how he wanted to shape his life.
This was profound to me not just as a counselor, but as a mother. He literally said the opposite instinct that every parent has. He noted that it was his struggles not the easy paths that were the biggest supporters to his overall success in life. I quickly realized how we as parents try to protect our children from everything. We intervene at the very moment our children are struggling because as parents it is agonizing and terrifying to watch our children struggle. However, what if that intervention is what stopped your child from learning to tackle their own problems? What if that struggle was the very thing that was going to shape and define your child into a lifetime of successes?
One of my movie heroes, Yoda, who always speaks those amazing nuggets of truth once said, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” What if your child learns the most from failure and instead of trying to swoop in and save the day for your child, you use those moments to teach, model, support, and shape your child. For instance, if they were unfairly not chosen for the basketball team, instead of writing that scathing letter to the coach, help your child define their goals, note how they can achieve it, and learn to work twice as hard to get there. Teach them that failure does not weaken us, but instead strengthens us.
As parents, we have to constantly be wise- maybe a little like Yoda! There are of course times that we need to intervene, but listen to those moments that you might be better off watching them struggle, then helping model how to handle adversity and honing in on their determination, goals, and mental toughness.
Written by Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC-S
Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing counseling and diagnostic evaluations for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, evaluations, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting www.heightsfamilycounseling.com and read more about her services by visiting http://heightsfamilycounseling.com/services-1/