My children love to build with blocks and Legos. They have become quite good at stacking them higher and higher and are always so proud of their creations.
However, when their towers inevitably collapse due to choice of foundation or simply their lack of engineering experience, they get frustrated. One of them often swipes his hand at the failed attempt and throws the blocks all over the floor. The other tends to gather up all of the blocks and bring them to me instead of trying to fix it himself.
I have tried to teach them about the best places to build (coffee table or floor as opposed to the couch or the armrest of the recliner). I’ve tried to show them that it’s okay if it falls and that it’s okay to start over with what you now know.
It’s okay to fail.
If only I could learn this lesson myself. I’m an Enneagram 1 and something I’ve discovered about myself as I look back is that perfectionism has been crippling. I rarely attempt something new unless I believe I will have immediate success.
I have given up so many opportunities in life because of actual or assumed failure.
What I want so desperately to instill within my children is a desire to keep trying, to not strive for perfection in everything, to learn from mistakes and grow instead of never making mistakes. I believe that this is how our Heavenly Father sees things, and I can only hope to be a fraction of the parent He is to us.
I will keep encouraging them to start over, and as they get older I will ask questions to help them learn to evaluate and make course corrections. I will let them fail so that they can learn that it’s not so bad. And I hope I can grow in the process.