I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. -Michael Jordan
The typical American middle schooler lives in a world of success. No one will go watch Iron Man lose to an evil villain on the big screen. No one likes to see their favorite team lose in the championship game. No one really likes to talk about their failures. We have created a culture focused on winning and success . Now, do not hear me wrong, I am not saying that winning and succeeding is wrong. I am one of the most competitive people you will ever meet, I love to win and I love to succeed. However, I have failed a lot too. I just don’t like to talk about it.
Why? One of the things I have seen in students is that they do not know how to handle failure. Being in ministry a long time I have seen students blow up on several occasions. I have had to send a student home for breaking a window after losing at four-square. Middle school students are notorious for whining, pouting, and getting ugly when they fail. The reality is that failure is a part of life and every parent has failures. Often times I see students act the same way their parents do when they fail. I am not judging, I am challenging parents to take times of failures as conversations starters. We all fail, we all fall short, scripture tells us that, but how we handle failure ultimately effects how we succeed. Continued conversations about failure means that when you fail or you see others fail you have honest conversations with you children about winning, hitting the mark, perseverance, understanding and keeping your head up. Middle school is the time where most students learn good and bad habits. They are imitators, they watch, they see and they repeat. How you face failures and how you act will speak volumes to your children. Following up and actually talking about it with them will ultimately set into motion a learned skill.
If a student can learn, in middle school, that failure produces opportunity, they will become successful adults. Always challenge and expect the best out of your children, but always be honest and open about failures. Continue the conversation. See an opportunity to teach and disciple your kids, USE IT!