"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing." - Henry Ford
Ask any parent today what they want most for their child, and success is sure to be near the top of that list. What you will not see on that list is failure. Generally speaking, parents do not want their children to make mistakes or go through difficult situations. But is this concept of success a good thing? Is the lack of failure an indicator of success? I would argue the exact opposite. I believe that it is through our failures that success is determined.
"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill
The sign of a mature and capable individual is that they not only can handle disappointment and failure, but that they actually grow and learn because of it. Romans 5:3 says that through suffering and perseverance, we build character. Good character does not magically wash upon the sailor who sits quietly in the calm waters near the shore. Enduring qualities are chiseled upon the soul who wanders into the deeper waters and the pounding waves. The well-rounded individual has ventured to places where their faith, integrity and resolve can be truly tested.
As a parent myself, I need to be reminded that it is okay to let my children fall down. We should not regularly bail them out of their troubles or do our best to make their problems disappear. Instead, we should act as a seasoned sailor. Letting them know that we have been in their boat. We will not let them drown and we can offer advice to weather the storm. We can encourage them that they have a Captain who is in complete control.
What does this all mean practically? Do not be quick to change their team or class every time they dislike the coach or teacher. Avoid that phone call to another parent to complain that their child has been making fun of yours. Resist the urge to complete the assignment that they do not have the time or patience for. Learn to come alongside rather than in front of. You might say to them, "I will mourn with you. I will give you any guidance I can on how to handle each situation. And ultimately, I will pray that you come out of this stronger and more like Christ."
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
- James 1:2-4
Written by Paul Prelle,
Junior High Bible Teacher and Junior High ASB Sponsor