Recently I graduated from a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program. At 45 years old, I’m a bit older than your typical graduate. As I began thinking about what’s next I was met with paralyzing fear. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point yet what if I’m not good at teaching? What if no one wants what I have to offer? What if…?
Recently I was reminded of my little man’s first experience of “failure” at something he worked so hard for. It was the time my child tried out for his school’s basketball team. This had been a goal he set for himself even before entering Middle School. He had been practicing and honing his skills with such determination, passion and commitment all in preparation for this point.
After two days of intense, exhausting try-outs he learned he did not make the team!
My initial gut reaction as a parent was to try to make him feel better. You know…all those things you say as a parent…
“I’m so proud of you for trying.”
“I know you did your absolute best and that’s what counts.”
“You can try again next year and then you will be even better.”
Instead I decided to tell him I was sorry and if he wanted to talk about it I was here to listen. I would simply hold space for whatever my child needed and not what I thought would make him feel better. It’s devastating to see your child sad and disappointed. Yet, I know this will be the first of many experiences that don’t work out the way he plans.
What I know is that failures and disappointments will come. There really is no avoiding it and I don’t think they should be avoided. It’s important for children to fail and almost more importantly, for children to see us fail and get right back up.
Great ideas, resilience and innovation are born from failures.
I’m happy to say my little guy chose resilience and is a skillful basketball player. I couldn’t be prouder. His example is serving as a potent reminder to face my fears head on. Although failure may not be our desired outcome it may be the option that teaches us the most valuable lessons.