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Celebrating Failures- Teaching A Growth Mindset

I’m on a number of homeschool forums for many reasons and most of the time I find them to be helpful. However, they are wrought with comparison and drama. When these things rear their ugly heads, I usually want to leave the forum. I have left many and cling to only a few.

In my observations of moms on these forums, I have noticed that so many are plagued with perfectionism. Moms are putting huge amounts of pressure on their budding students. Everything these kids do must be “just so” or it’s not worthy. They are expecting an 8 yr old boy to write at a high school level or without error. They cannot see the beauty in their child’s budding creativity because they spelled words wrong. It’s very discouraging to see.

Moms, you and I can’t be perfect. I think we all realize this. Since we cannot expect perfection of ourselves, we should not expect it of our children, or spouse, or pastor, or friend. No one is perfect. No one will get it right all the time. In reality, no one should.

We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. Our biggest failures stand out in our minds, but we probably can’t name every “A” we received in school or every praise we were given. Failure is what helps us grow and failure should be celebrated and encouraged.

One of my favorite movies of all time is “Meet the Robinson’s.” In the movie, the eccentric Robinson family looks at failure as something to be championed, celebrated, and cheered. They have a motto, “keep moving forward.” They were teaching a growth mindset. This is the kind of attitude we need.

We need to trumpet this to our kids. “You aren’t always going to win, you won’t “ace” everything. That’s ok. Do your best and if your best isn’t good enough, know that you can always work harder and your brain can always grow.”

The biggest gift we can give to ourselves and our kids is a mindset that is willing to try again, willing to risk failing, and willing to work hard.  For a little more inspiration, here’s a list of people who failed many times over before reaching success:

Michael Jordan- missed over 9,000 shots in his career.

Richard Bronson- dropped out of high school, was severely dyslexic, started out broke and now is worth $5.1 billion.

Steve Jobs- dropped out of college and was fired from the company he founded.

Elizabeth Blackwell (first woman to receive a medical degree)- was rejected from 29 schools.

Walt Disney- had his biggest idea stolen out from under him, lost everything. Was told he was not creative enough.

Steven Speilberg- rejected from film school, twice. Later, after his enormous success, he was awarded an honorary degree from USC ( the school that rejected him).

Charles Shultz- his drawings were rejected by his high school yearbook. He later went on to develop the “Peanuts” series.

The Beatles- rejected by numerous record labels and told they had no future in show business.

Mary Kay Ash- sold books door to door while her husband was in the military. Later, they divorced and as a single mom of 3, with a $5,000 investment, she started her business which Forbes reported is worth over $3.5 billion.

Oprah Winfrey- fired from her news anchor job and told she was not fit for T.V.

James Dyson- took 5 years and 5,126 prototypes before the first Dyson was developed.

Milton Hershey- his first two businesses went bankrupt before he started his chocolate business.

J.K. Rowling- wrote Harry Potter when she had just been divorced, was bankrupt, and on welfare.

Let’s encourage our kids to embrace mistakes and let’s model that by embracing them ourselves.

Always in your corner,

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