Zoe, our six-year-old granddaughter, visited over the holidays. We play lots of games with our kids and grandkids, and as the youngest, Zoe wants to be included in everything.
On this visit, she surprised me when, after losing a game, she wasn’t the least bit disappointed. She simply said, “Let’s play again. Practice makes perfect!”
I love this because it tells me that she has an understanding that learning requires repetition and that not getting it right at first is okay.
I’m not sure where she heard “practice makes perfect,” and I’m not concerned about whether it’s the best phrase. The point is that it works for her both as a reminder to keep trying. It also helps her get over her disappointment and move on. What an amazing attitude!
If you raise your kids to make the connections between practice and failing and learning, you set them up powerfully for a lifetime.
Small children do this naturally. They are curious and love to learn.Early on, they love repetition and are not discouraged by failing. Later, as they become aware of right/wrong, winning/losing, succeeding/failing, they can get frustrated by not getting it right or by losing.
Here are some phrases to help create the understanding that learning anything requires practice:
Just keep trying—you’ll get it!
Nothing is easy in the beginning.
I love how you keep trying!
It isn’t failing if you learned something.
Babe Ruth struck out lots of times.
My grandson, Collin, lost his high school wrestling match in Maryland last night. I sent him this text, a quote from basketball legend Michael Jordan:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
For myself, I keep this quote from Fred Astaire in front of me: “It took me 15 years to make it look easy.”
The easiest path to empowerment is to choose an attitude that is powerful in the face of everything life brings. And one of the most important places to have a great attitude is with failing. Give your kids a framework they can work with their entire lives!
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Zoe and Collin have approved this blog!
Here are a few other quotes about failure you might enjoy.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. —Winston Churchill
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. —Michael Jordan
Failure is success if we learn from it. —Malcolm Forbes
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. —Henry Ford
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