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Monday, February 4, 2013

Letting Failure Do Its Job

Most of us are afraid of failure, I think only second to fear of success (if you are an addict, that is).  This terror of being 'less than' drives a great deal of social ambition and even technological progress.  Sometimes we cloak it in the language of 'efficiency,' but, in many respects, that's just another word for less failing.

Failure can have catastrophic consequences, but most of our failures are failures of preferences or conveniences.  When you are afraid to lose those, and scramble to meet them as well, then you can kiss any hope of happiness goodbye.

Here's a good article on the topic: 

If you instill in a child the fear of failure in all its various forms, yet you cannot make him perfect, you are leaving him anxiety-riddled and prone to the need for 'medication.'  He will either become completely dependent and passive, or he will madly scramble to avoid all forms of failure.  I have seen overly-demanding and super-protective parents drive their children into Obsessive-Compulsives.

You get callouses from working.  Without those callouses, everything hurts.

Even God does not demand perfection from us.  That's why He gives us the opportunity to repent.  If He expected us by ourselves to live up to the perfection we were created to experience through Him, He would not have given us so many ways to repent and be healed.

If we want our children to grow up without our pathological insecurities, we would do well not to enforce them on our kids.  Let them fail.  let them do their own homework or not.  Of course, if they get bad grades, they should feel your loving wrath.  But, they need to figure out how to succeed on their own, and letting them fail in small ways can teach them important lessons about how not to fail in big ways.

Addicts often have problems with this sense of balance.  We all must be cautious, and learn how to take a punch.  If God is with us, we will survive.

1 comment:

  1. This is probably the same as allowing children to experience different things, even ones that parents may not fully agree with such as various kinds of music. Personally, I have felt that God has allowed to me investigate, to "try" different things, to see what life is all about. Maybe I didn't gain much from this in itself, but it has taught me a lot about God's true love for me. A little bit of His patience and toleration has shown me that I don't really have to try everything that promises to be good, and that I can put all my faith in Him as the source of everything good. Hope I am not exaggerating and I don't think this is something a parent can easily manage (it takes quite a bit of skill and risk taking). Though, God has totally outdone every expectation that I had of Him so far. You can't beat Him at anything good. :)