I had an interesting conversation this weekend with a group of parents and educators. We discussed the consequences of parents rescuing their children so much that they raise their children to be helpless.
One person remarked that parents need to give themselves permission to allow their children to fail.
I took it a step further and suggested that instead of failure it would be more useful to give them permission to learn.
So many parents and educators alike unintentionally model the importance of being right, or being perfect and scold children for not knowing what they’re expected to know.
Too often in life we believe that only the desired outcome is worth something when in fact every experience has value.
It reminds me of a story I heard about a martial arts master who was instructing two students as they participated in full contact sparring. They each took turns giving and receiving strikes.
When the master announced that they had done enough and could finish for the day, one student inquired, “Master, which one of us won?”
“What do you mean?” The master questioned.
“Doesn’t one of us have to win and the other lose?” The student clarified.
To which the master replied, “Is it not more important what you choose to do with either outcome?”
The lesson is that it isn’t about winning or losing, its always about learning.
Give yourself permission
When it comes to parenting the one that learns the most is the parent, in my experience.
I learned early on that needing to be right and feeling as though I needed to have all the answers led to me feeling inadequate much of the time. It also modeled for my children that being right was a virtue instead of being teachable.
One day I decided to give myself permission to be a student, to be curious again and experience the world alongside my children.
With curiosity there is no failure because everything is a discovery after which we can ask ourselves the same question, “What did we discover from this?”
With that approach defeat never enters the conversation, there’s no need to punish ourselves in order to learn the valuable lessons life has to teach us.
You have permission to find the answers, there’s no need to always have them.
You have permission to trust, trust that each lesson will require you to grow.
You have permission to fall, so the muscles required to get back up become the strongest of all.
Thanks for being you.
About the Author:
As a cancer survivor, adult with Dyslexia, A.D.D., the father of three sons on the autism spectrum as well as someone who lives on the autism spectrum myself, I’ve learned something very critical. That success in life has nothing to do with circumstances but everything to do with strategies.
I’ve learned that Fear and Excitement are the same feeling, the difference being whether you decide the feeling means that “I can’t” or that “I’m ready!”
I’ve become a master of turning Problems into Possibilities and Obstacles into Opportunities and I’ve learned to teach my clients to do the same thing using what I refer to as “The Effective Factor.” A laser focused ability to make small shifts that create massive results in every area of your life.
I look forward to serving you,
Brian R. King LCSW