J2 Content – Perspectives

A varied collection of thoughts on education and parenting

Failure As a Life Lesson

My daughter decided to try out for the high school volleyball team. She likes to play volleyball, and as a Freshman, thought it would be a good idea to get into sports. What was surprising to me was that this particular volleyball program had successfully made it to the championships several years in a row and the team adopted a ‘cut’ program. Making the cut means that the best players make the team and everyone else, well, won’t. It was fairly clear that my daughter was about to enter into highly competitive and potentially demanding environment with a chance of not making the team. The question I now faced as a parent was how to support my daughter even if it meant that she may not make the cut.

No parent wants to see their child get rejected or fail, and nobody wants to be left out of something they really like. As parents we encourage our kids to try things which they may be interested in. We even encourage them in things they may not be so keen on but through it all we hope they will be able to grow through the experience. What parents sometimes forget is that failure is a lesson our children must learn in order to grow.

It’s sometimes difficult (and heartbreaking) to teach our kids about failure or rejection. I remember when I was young I fell off my horse and did not want to get back on. I cried, protested, and begged not to get back on the horse. However, my father did not give up and eventually I got back on the horse. The lesson was that if I dwelled on my failure, I would have never ridden again. Rather, I learned from the fall and became a better rider.

Failure is part of life. Our kids will not succeed at everything and therefore they will experience rejection throughout their lives. As parents we need to be there for them when they fail and gently encourage them to overcome their own personal obstacles rather than to dwell on them. It is through this encouragement that our children will learn to find their inner strength.

I don’t know if my daughter will make the team but I do know that she will grow from the experience whatever the outcome may be.

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2 Responses to “Failure As a Life Lesson”

  1. Tyler Allen
    on Jun 10th, 2011
    @ 10:00 am

    there is always club volleyball! I played basketball in highschool. I rarely actually got to play. I was a bench warmer but I loved the sport and going to practice everyday was more fun than the games. I learned a lot about politics too and how when you feel that you are a better player than someone else but their dad is on the school board, they will play and you will sit on the bench. I know another person who became a coach just so his kid could start and play every game in another sport.



  2. Tyler Allen
    on Jun 10th, 2011
    @ 10:02 am

    bottom line is have fun and try to learn all you can from life’s experiences and realize that sometimes you have options and sometimes you don’t. Hope she makes it though!

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