"" The Exhausted Mom: The Lost Art of Learning To Fail

February 26, 2013

The Lost Art of Learning To Fail

I've had something on my mind lately.  When did we forget how to fail?

It's a simple concept.  You win some, you lose some.  You succeed, you fail.

For my generation (and no, I'm not that old...), it was just a part of life.  Not everyone was picked for the basketball team or the cheerleading squad.  Not everyone got the lead in the school play.  We learned how to lose gracefully...at least in public.  

I know this is hard to believe, but I was never the BEST at everything.  (you can stop laughing now)  I have had my share of let downs and heart ache.  I am a HUGE crier and wear my emotions on my face most of the time, so when I'm upset it's pretty clear.  But the best lesson my parents ever taught me was how to stand up after being let down.

I feel like our new generations aren't getting the same experiences that we did.  They aren't learning how to lose.

At an early age, if your parents pay the fee, you are on the team.  If you get a failing grade, your parents go in and talk to the teacher.  If you aren't picked for the play, your parents complain until a new part is created for you.  

It sounds to me like a lot of parental work.  What will these kids do when their parents aren't around?  Like when they aren't accepted into their first choice college.  Or when they aren't hired for their dream job.  

What are we setting our kids up for?  Failure or something worse, entitlement?

As a mom, I wish I could protect my kids from all of the hurt in their lives.  It kills me to think that they won't get everything they want in life.  But as an adult having gone through life for the past 30-something years, I know that not letting anything happen to them, then nothing will happen to them.  With every failure, comes a success.  With every let down, comes a lift up.  

I not only want to raise winners, I want to raise people who know how to lose and how to learn from those failures.  

Are you a someone who would rather kids win and be included in everything or do you think there's something to learning how to lose and fail?



  1. i agree 100% with you. kids now a days are pretty much taught no matter how they act or what they do they will end up on top as a winner. they will grow up to expect everyone else thinks they are a winner or deserve more than they may actually do.

  2. Without trying to stigmatize a whole generation, I do see the type of behavior that is being discussed in this blog. I try to put it in perspective as a whole and hope it is not as bad as it seems.
    We have to ask ourselves, do we raise our children in this manner? Most of us would answer no. So that leaves us wondering who is. Furthermore, does it just seem more prevelant today because we are now adults and see the polatics that our parents tried to shield us from, or even complained about while we were growing up? Maybe?
    That being said, I do see a trend in schools trying to introduce more positive reenforcement, but at what cost? It dilutes the will to be competative, and teaches that if their best isnt good enough or if they don't work as hard as otbers, they will be okay. That is not "real" life lessons. Learning compassion is one thing, but teaching complacency is another.
    They will never learn that sometimes your best isnt good enough, and even if you are the best, there is always someone better. Standards in the grown up world seem to be higher than in any other time in history. How will they react in the face of adversity?
    Like I said in the beginning I like to think that this stigma really defines a generation. Each generation has a sort of preset judgement on them, I know we did! Lets just hope we are just becoming aware of a negative trait that doesnt really define the majority.
    Im not sure what the world will look like with a society that says: "You are an expert in your field, yet my opinion is as credible as yours, simply because I exist."


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