Kia Ora Families,
Recently we teachers have had some fantastic professional development from Dr Michael Lindsay, and he touched on a few things I had been thinking and talking about with numerous people. One of them is failure. It is interesting topic to discuss – I have met people to whom failure of a task or goal is taken personally and they let it rock their self worth and begin to dislike themselves. I have met others to whom failure rolls off them, like water off a ducks back, and they immediately dismiss it and try again. I have seen children who let being stumped by a task ruin their day, and others who happily try again.
Putting together the bits and pieces that I have heard and read, I think that it is what you do with failure that is important. I also think it is closely linked with disappointment, and children (and adults) need to know how to cope with this, as disappointments in life are inevitable. Sometimes they are out of our control. With the right attitude, however, failure can be powerful – it can motivate and inspire, and drive adults and children to rise above situations and achieve amazing things. The list of people who have impacted the world and have had multiple failures is interesting. People like JK Rowling, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Michael Jordan are all on it. JK Rowling acknowledges that without failing as many times as she did, she would not have succeeded.
We have high expectations for our kids at RCS – this year the value we are focussing on is Excellence. Coupled with academic excellence and achieving their best, is excellence in attitude toward learning – without this you will never accomplish the former. So I guess that is where things like failure become important – learning not to let it hold us back, seeing learning as a journey, seeing mistakes as challenges to conquer. We encourage grit, practice, determination and perseverance – none of this is possible without a healthy attitude towards disappointments, mistakes and failures. Your children need your help with this, so at home take every opportunity to encourage them to stretch themselves and then problem solve when things donâ€™t go their way. Dr Michael Lindsay called this â€œfailing forwardâ€ – using it as an opportunity for personal growth and digging in, finding the grit to keep going.
Just as with learning and physical tasks, we need spiritual perseverance too. James (1:2-4) writes “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.â€
As Easter approaches, amidst the chocolate and celebration of Jesusâ€™ resurrection, it is also a great time for reflection. Make the most of it – I will be thinking about failing forward and how that looks in my life, and the grit that Jesus showed to ensure he followed his Fatherâ€™s will.