Laxman Kirloskar, the founder of the Kirloskar group used to say, “Without failures growth is NOT possible. Without risks, growth is NOT possible.”
Think of learning any new skill. Let us say, eating with chopsticks for the first time. How many times will we fail before we get it right? Many times, isn’t it? But each failure teaches us what to avoid, what to do...ultimately, we get it right. Moral - In learning anything, failures are inevitable.
Now, imagine our kids CANNOT handle failures. What does that mean? It means, they will not be able to learn ANYTHING new. Does that sound scary? It does. Today’s world is moving ahead at a super fast face. Things are changing rapidly. Technology is changing every three months !!! In this fast-changing world, an ability to learn is crucial for survival. Learning is possible when I know how to handle failures and how to bounce back from failures!
There are bound to be setbacks in lives. It is inevitable. However, it is hard for some parents to imagine kids failing. Hence, we are creating kids who can’t handle losing. At party games, school, and even at friendly neighbourhood contests, we see kids bursting into tears because they “did not come first.” Instead of making them focus on ‘winning at any cost’, let us make them focus on ‘learning at every opportunity’’.
Kids need to know that working hard, understanding things, and giving their best is as important as the outcome of their actions. Understanding concepts are more important than getting great marks without knowing the concepts.
Our responsibility is to put in 100% efforts. With that, if we win great. In spite of that, if we lose, there is no shame in that loss. We will observe the winner and understand what is he doing differently? If his approach appeals to us, we learn how to do better next time. Mind you, even in the loss, there is joy in the heart as it taught us something good.
Encourage kids to play games. Both indoor and outdoor games works. Let them lose. Let them learn team efforts. Don’t let them get away with cheating or don’t throw away a game just to let them win. In fact, teach them, through practice, that enjoying the game is more important than winning or losing. What they also need to learn is look at what they learned from their failures and ensure that they do not repeat the mistake.
As parents, we tend to push our kids. We are constantly telling them to “Read better, speak better, eat right, get top grades, ace in sports….” and so on. Chill out and back off a bit. They are children. Let them enjoy their childhood too.
By all means, do point out mistakes. Highlight incidents when you have goofed up, preferably by giving examples they are aware of, like when the milk boiled over, or when you accidentally spill the food from a pot. Talk about instances where you had to deal with disappointment, but you did not give up hope. You brushed off the failure, learned your lesson and moved on.
Competing with the world is narrow and limited. Teach your kids to be a better version of themselves. That will leave no room for unnecessary and negative disappointment. They always have to only outdo themselves. Teach them this most important life lesson by citing real-life examples.
Yes, you read that right. Celebrate failures. Celebrate failures even more than you would celebrate success. Make it a habit to ensure that “learning from failures and getting better” becomes a natural norm for your kids.
Talk to them about famous personalities and about their failures. While we do not want to romanticize or glorify failure, do tell them stories of famous people who got rejected (J.K Rowling!), expelled from school (Einstein), but they continued to work hard and do what they had to until they found success.