Why I Want my Little Boy to Fail

By Steve Austin | Family

Mar 13

Working in the public school setting the past several years has made me aware of many things:

  • lunchroom food sucks (but if you get in good with the lunchroom ladies…they’ll hook you up)
  • schools are dirty…I wash my hands until they’re cracked and chapped
  • sneak in the women’s bathroom…it is always cleaner
  • parents don’t want their children to fail

Let’s talk about that last one today.

I want my little boy to grow up knowing some success and some failure. I want him to be familiar with achievement and disappointment. I do not want my child to grow up in a bubble, never knowing struggles and never hearing the word “no”. I do not want my five-month-old to be raised like so many kids I know, thinking that life will be handed to him on a silver platter, that everyone deserves a trophy, and that everyone gets an “A”.

That’s not real life.

” I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn’t possibly do otherwise. We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.
2 Corinthians 13:4-6

Failure opens up many opportunities for conversation. 

I think failure gives us more of a chance to talk than if we were always #WINNING at everything.

So how should we deal with failures?  What do we do about shortcomings? How do we respond when those we care about miss the mark? When our imperfections become public knowledge…then what?

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
Matthew 7:1-3

  • Acknowledge a failure. The truth will set you free.
  • Give grace once the shortcoming has been recognized.  A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

“If you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.”


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About the Author

Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.

  • Gigi says:

    There is a lot to learn from failures. I think parents who protect their children in such a way that prevents them from ever failing actually hinder their kids from being able to function as adults.

  • mareeajones says:

    Very nice post – I am so thankful for the things I failed at growing up…I am also thankful for parents who guided me, but still let me make my own decisions – good and bad. You and Lindsey are awesome parents! Keep it up!

  • momshieb says:

    Every year, my first writing assignment for my fifth graders is to choose one of these quotes and to write about it:”He who has never made a mistake has never made anything.”
    ‘I have failed over and over again in my life; that is why I have succeeded.”
    Great life lessons for your child!

  • Braeden says:

    Failing also makes winning funner. WhatFun would it be if you ALWAYS won? Sometimes you’ve gotta lose.

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