I work in the financial industry and the concept of “too big to fail” often comes up. It’s a theory that the failure of large financial institutions would pose catastrophic events to the broader economic system due to their interconnectiveness and reach.
If we apply the same thinking to learning, are adults too big to fail? If we adults continue to make mistakes and be forthcoming with those mistakes, would it be destructive or constructive? If our children never see us struggle or make monumental errors, how will they feel when their time comes to take risks and push the boundaries to become all they are meant to be and do?
It’s a scary thought. Failure. It conjures up negative feelings, immense stress, gut-wrenching emotions and full out fear. It’s uncomfortable and no one wants to experience it. But they say we learn most from our mistakes, not all the things we get right. So how do we create a safe environment for our kids to fail? My belief is that they need to see it first hand by watching us fail. But, how can we as perfect parents err?
Well, we do each and every day, but our kids may be shielded from seeing it. We get things wrong at work, in raising our kids, getting to and from all the places we need to be, saying something we shouldn’t or even holding back when we should be outspoken. If we shared more about our own trials and tribulations, we could create a freer space for our kids to go out of their comfort zones. In turn, they will realize that progress is made by misstepping, learning lessons along the way and ultimately improving. When having conversations with our kids, we can discuss what scares us, what we do not do well and where we want to get better. So much of what we talk to them about focuses on their own struggles, but if they had a taste of the challenges we face, they could slowly feel more comfortable in knowing they are not alone in their trepidations. Any example in your life works because it’s more about starting the conversation and demonstrating that adults encounter many of the same struggles. By being more vulnerable and transparent, we may even learn a thing or two from our kids through their innocence and wisdom. I know that I always get wonderful kernels from conversations with my daughter that transform how I look at a problem. A child’s purity can help simplify and put things into perspective when we may just be overcomplicating it. It’s all about helping one another be and become the very best of ourselves, kids and adults alike.
It’s important to share both the good and the bad along the way. Getting older does not erase insecurities so this is a lifelong journey to evolve, try new things, make things right, and be accountable. If we never try for more, we certainly will never achieve it. We are all works in progress.
So, remember, you are never too big (or little) to fail.