Letting your kids fail

This might sound strange but I have a running list of scenarios I want to almost purposely orchestrate for our kids to fail in. And for it to hurt. Why? Because failing in a controlled environment (as a child under the authority of loving parents) is the best teacher and costs way less than them making that same mistake as an adult for the first time.

For example, we travel a lot and Kinsley loves traveling and is already showing lots of leadership giftings. So on my list, to hopefully train and fan the flame of that gifting, is in a few years I want to give her all the travel responsibilities to lead our family for one of our big trips right at the point or before I think she’s perfectly capable (booking tickets, having an itinerary, make sure we are squared away with a hotel, etc). And I’m already saving for that potentially painful mistake and hoping to have a scenario where she misses a detail that costs us (as a family team) a little. And then I want to have a postgame huddle (sorry I think about parenthood in sporting terms a lot) where we debrief it.

Why? For few reasons. One, I want the world and life situations to be her primary classroom, not a desk and book, not to mention her learning valuable life skills much earlier than myself and most others. Two, I want her first BIG failures to be around Alyssa and me, because ultimately there will be a net, and secondly failure in our culture can be such a shame train, and I want to be one of the first voices over her repeated failures that actually get her to understand there’s no shame in failure and that’s how to grow, excel, learn, etc and we love her the same. And thirdly, because in my opinion when you fail at certain things that’s when you actually learn it DEEPLY.

It’s why a few years ago when my friend let me borrow his nice jet ski but said “but don’t do this one thing with it because it tends to break if you do” and guess what I did? I did that thing and broke the jet ski and it cost me $1600 to fix which HURT BAD. But guess who is now hands down the safest person to trust with your jet ski? Me. It’s funny how failure (and moments where they hurt a little) works like that.

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