First let me say I am not a handy man. I don’t have very many tools and the ones I do have don’t get used much. I was challenged to reframe and put new trim on an open area within a wall that separates our family room from the kitchen. How hard could this be right? I just needed three boards for the inside frame and 6 trim pieces. Piece of cake!!
I am embarrassed to say my “no big deal” confidence quickly became the realization of not really knowing what I was doing. I started accumulating a pile of mis-cut trim pieces. I made at least 5 trips to Lowe’s to purchase more wood. I became acquainted on a first name basis with the Lowe’s greeter. Yes, it was that bad. I quickly realized that each mis-measured…mis-cut piece of wood was a learning opportunity that taught me what I was doing wrong. Even though I was highly frustrated making those additional trips to the store and spending way more than I should have, I saw progress with each try. I was motivated to keep trying. Then it dawned on me…my pile of mis-cut wood pieces were failure stepping stones!
Object Lesson Opportunity!
My children have often heard me talk about failures being stepping stones to success. My attempt to do something I wasn’t experience in became a great object lesson that would reinforce what they are being taught verbally. This also allowed our children to witness that Mom and Dad make mistakes too. When I finally finished the job, I put all the trashed wood pieces in a pile underneath the completed frame. I gathered my children in to witness the pile and told them the pile of wood represented my failure stepping stones to the completed frame above. After a few snickers, I was surprised to hear them in disbelief state…”No Way!”. They actually could not believe I made all those costly mistakes. I then asked each one to pick up a board or two. I proceeded to ask them to give me a name or a word that would keep them from accomplishing a goal. Something that may cause them to fail and when they mentioned what came to their mind, I asked them to throw the piece of wood down. I heard words like “rejection”…”mistakes”…”fear”…”can’t”…”ability”…”impossible”…”hard”. I then had all of us stand on that pile of wood. I prayed and claimed that we will not let the mentioned failure barriers prevent us from accomplishing God’s will for our lives and the desires of our heart! The point of this object lesson was to reinforce in my children that they can accomplish a goal, a desire, a dream…as long as they don’t quit when failure comes along. They physically saw my mistakes and the application of each failure becoming a learning step for the next attempt. Finally, diligence through the whole process eventually led to success. It was a pretty powerful moment!
Do you strive for absolute perfection in your children? Do you allow them to make mistakes? Do you let your children observe your mistakes? Let me encourage you to allow your children to see your failures and especially the decision making on what you did to overcome the barrier. Our children often think we are perfect. Remember, my teenagers couldn’t believe I made all those mistakes. The real learning for our children happens when they actually see how we react to our failure and what we specifically do to overcome that barrier to push on toward success!