Well, I put myself out there. I applied for a job that I was super passionate about but for which I was a little short on experience.

So many interviews and meetings later and I’m, well, short on experience.

My friend told me last week about the lady who started Spanx. If the junk email in my box is any indicator, she’s doing pretty well. My friend told me that every night at dinner this lady’s father used to ask her how she had failed, what she had learned from it, and what she was going to do next time. In this way failure and risk were normalized for her.

I tried it a couple of nights ago. It didn’t work because no one had failed at anything all day long except me losing my temper briefly before dinner. But today I had a doozy.

“Well, kids, Mommy failed at something today.”

“What did you fail at, Momma?”

“I applied for a job that I really wanted. But I didn’t have enough experience. They’re probably right, but it would’ve been fun. I’m glad I tried.”

I don’t know if they were paying attention, but I hope something sunk in.

The other week my husband and I attended a family class on anxiety after church. The therapist running the class told a story about taking his friend’s daughter to the playground. While this little girl played and climbed he heard her repeating to herself, “Be careful, be careful.” When it was brought to the father’s attention he had to estimate that he said “Be careful” to his daughter up to fifty times a day. He wasn’t even aware.

So, I’ve made note and stopped saying “Be careful” so much. And I’m talking about failure at the dinner table. And I took a chance, failed, and talked about it in front of my kids.

Because if there’s one thing I don’t want, I absolutely do not want my kids going through life being careful.

4 responses »

  1. Wow, that’s a great lesson. In the same vein, I’ve recently realized there’s a lot my kids don’t know about things that happened to our family and/or to me and their father personally when they were quite young. It wasn’t appropriate to tell them at the time, but now that they’re old enough I think it’s important to know some of the really difficult stuff we dealt with and how we overcame it. Not only is it a part of their personal history, but there’s a lot to be learned about perseverence and character. Not to mention about learning from mistakes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I see how easily that could happen, inappropriate level of sharing then, but an appropriate level of sharing now. But you’re right, with young adults, now is exactly the time!


  2. Good for you! 🙂 Such a great idea to talk to your kids about failure. I find myself saying be careful and listing out all of the bad things that could happen and I have to check myself so I don’t get out of hand.


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