A lot of you know that I’ve struggled with fear, especially the fear of failure. I struggle with perfectionism and don’t give myself much room for making mistakes. It is something I am learning about and surrendering to the Lord and working on letting go of.
I want my kids to have the freedom I haven’t allowed myself. I want them to know that failure is not an end, it is a beginning. Failure is, in fact, an opportunity.
I don’t want my kids to not try something because they had a bad experience or because they got hurt. The old adage “when you fall off the horse you have to get right back on” carries a lot of weight.
I don’t want my kids to be afraid of something or shirk back because of a poor experience. Try that again.
Earlier this summer, we took the kids tubing. Our good friend who was driving the boat is about as experienced as you can be pulling kids on a tube. For whatever reason, our friend accidentally knocked the kids off the tube on their first time out in the water.
Spooked was an understatement. My daughter declared her lifelong loathing of tubing and asserted that she would never. ever. tube again.
Tubing is something the kids love and always have. We didn’t want this one bad experience to ruin tubing for her. Even though she wanted to climb back into the boat, we made her try again. My husband helped the kids back up on the tube and together they faced fears and tried again.
Just last week, we were swimming at a friend’s house. My daughter and her friend love jumping off the diving board. Since the kids were up for a challenge, my friend started teaching the kids how to dive. My daughter’s first try resulted in a bellyflop — hurting her tummy and her pride.
Fear of failure and pain convinced her not to try again. What a great opportunity to encourage my girl to not give in to fear! I was so proud of her that day, not because she learned to dive — she didn’t — but because she got up there and tried again.
We all need permission – and sometimes a little push – to try again. Second chances don’t guarantee success, but they sure do give us an edge on fear and help us live a little more free.