We need to learn how to fail



So many humbling lessons I’ve learned through parenting.

We have “children’s church” each week where the kids all go up front for a 1-2 minute devotion, and anyone who is able recites their memory verse for the month.

The current verse is Revelations 3:20a, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.”

This past week we didn’t work on our verse much. Caeden (5) practiced a couple of times, and Logan (3), refused to practice at all. It’s the same verse all month, so, we decided we’ll just wait until next week.

We got to church on Sunday, and one person successfully recited.  Then Logan raised his hand. Some of the younger ones raise their hand regardless, so the children’s pastor checks with parents first.  He looks back at my husband and I and we both shake our head.  No, he doesn’t know it. He didn’t practice at all.

But at the same time, I was confused. He’d never done that before. And he is a quick learner, so maybe…. But still, I felt pretty confident that he didn’t know it.

I was protecting him from failure.

But then our wise friends whispered from behind “Why did you do that? You should have just let him try.”  The wife later said she just wanted to hear what he had to say…he can be a bit of a fire cracker sometimes!

But the husband said this: “You’re supposed to believe in him and build him up.”

Wow. It was a sobering moment for me. He’s right. I’m supposed to build up my sons, not teach them to fear failure. How many times have I doubted myself to the point of not even trying, just because I fear failure?  Kids have a natural ability to take risks. They are resilient. They can forget about the failures, forget about the possible consequences, and just forge ahead. Now sometimes, this can be a dangerous quality (trust me, with 2 fearless boys, I know all about that!).  But sometimes, it’s enviable.

I need to learn from it. There are so many things in life that I haven’t even tried just because I was scared of failing and didn’t have anyone to believe in me.  Because I wasn’t strong enough to take the risk.

Once we left church, I asked him: “Did you know your verse?”
He said, “Yes, but he didn’t pick me.”

In being so certain of myself, and doubting my son, I actually caused him to get hurt.  I explained to him what happened, and asked again if he knew his verse.  Here is what he said (I apologize that this video is sideways, but it’s the audio that matters)…

I was floored, and humbled, and felt absolutely terrible that I robbed him of the opportunity to share this.

Have you ever underestimated your children?


  1. says

    Just wanted to say thank you for this. I know there are many times when I am paralyzed with fear about something, usually because I’m not exactly sure how it’s going to end or even if it will be successful and it takes time to figure out ways to get around that. I appreciate this because how true it is about children and their fearlessness. Something to keep in mind with our kids!

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