We went golfing a few weeks back and I was struck by how awful my 10-year-old was at hitting the ball. Yet, he wouldn’t give up. Whiff after whiff, he kept swinging the club, and he even started having a little fun by imitating Happy Gilmore. My eyes filled with tears at what an incredible failure he was. Tears of laughter and tears of pride.
I have been thinking about this post for a while now, and I have talked with both of my sons about the message. I have a very difficult time writing about parenting because I don’t claim to be an effective parent. Yet. The success of my parenting skills will be determined much later, when my sons are living happy lives, uplifting others, and defining their own success. The proof is in the pudding.
My sons are not little princes. They are little people–well, actually, it is just months before BOTH of them are bigger than me. The thing I want them to learn more than anything in this whole world is that they make their own happiness. And I want them to learn how to make their own happiness. That mission means they need to fail a lot. They need to laugh, brush themselves off, learn from their mistakes, and move on. With a smile most of the time. Although, it is a little ironic that I’m writing this while parenting a 15-year-old boy. He does smile often, just not at me at this point in his life. To him, I am a super dork, especially when I make musical.ly videos.
My kids have failed at pretty much everything at one point or another–from sports, to academics, to relationships, to keeping their rooms clean. They will keep failing, and they will keep being annoyed at my, “So what will you do now?” response.
It’s a good thing that I am a failure too.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Author’s Note: This was posted with the full support of my contributing editors, my sons.