Fast-forward life. Now our oldest is twelve and she definitely has “inherited” a good portion of my personality. Even the “follow-the rules, there is only one way to complete a task, and I just failed my test even though I received a 98% personality.” What about the part where I always hung my head after a mistake…yeah she does that also! And guess what? This frustrates me to no end! My husband kindly reminds me, this is exactly how I acted! I wonder am I raising children, where you have to be perfect on your first try? That’s definitely not what I am intending…but I do feel this way.
So why do I need a “do-over” parenting? I want her to go back to being a baby again so I can show her that failure and making mistakes is all right! I want her to know that learning takes place in moments of failure. I want to show her that sometimes we have to “break the rules” or “break the recipes” to get better, innovative ideas.
What can I do now? Well, I can model failure. I can model what learning looks like after failure. And I can definitely be her mom and let her coaches coach. I don't need to dwell on her mistakes or bad athletic events. I can be her #1 fan and be an encourager.
I can show all my three children that mistakes are all right. Take my cooking, for example…yep 5 nights out of 7, I probably fail at planning an edible healthy meal! I can model keep trying, even if I fail and fail again, and then fail again. I talk to my students all the time that we develop our problem solving, critical thinking, and creative thinking skills in the midst of failure. Why haven’t I modelled failure to my own kids? It is all right to make mistakes as long as we are learning in the process. So maybe I won’t be able to use my parenting “do over” card, but I can start right now. I can start modeling failure to my kids and what it looks like being a lifelong learner.
I realize, that I cannot parent the perfect child, because there is no such thing as the perfect child. However, I can teach my kids what failure looks like and how to respond to it. How to not accept failure as the means to the end, but as the opportunity to create, to innovate, to critically think.