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Learning from failureIn case you are wondering where I am going with this, I do not blame you! Who ever heard of celebrating failures? Successes Yes…Failures NEVER!

After all, we were always taught that failures bring punishment…failures were to be dealt with firmly or sometimes get pushed under the carpet …so we all could pretend it never happened!! No failures in this family, right?!

Well, is there anyone among us who has never tasted failure? Please raise your hand! Thought as much…no hands…and that is the reality of life! Failures are a part of life and I would go so far as to dare to say, a ‘necessary and even positive’ part of life!

After all, as adults, we know that life has its share of disappointments and where better for your child to experience his first failures, than under the loving supportive guidance of you, the parent? So, while our parental instincts scream ‘protect…safeguard…take charge’ the fact is we cannot bubble wrap our children…from physical or emotional hurt! At the same time, I am not propagating that we throw them in the deep-end and let them figure it out by themselves!

I liken it to a boxing match….they are the main players, we cannot jump in the ring and fight for them…but we can stand by the ringside and cheer them on…loud and clear…we are their coaches and can teach them some moves, but they have to throw the punches and also learn to roll with the punches! I can see some of you nodding in agreement there!

Well, dear parents, as we enter this New Year, I am going to challenge you to ‘celebrate failures’! Sit down with your kids and talk to them about the failures they experienced in 2014. Why you wonder?! Here are 3 great reasons:

  1. Fail and Learn- Help them be comfortable with their failures and look at them as ‘learning experiences’ Remind them that just because they ‘failed’ at something [as in they did not achieve the goal they set], this does not define them or make them ‘failures or losers’. It just means they have to learn new strategies to deal with that issue. So, if math is a subject they do not do well at, what needs to change? Brainstorm solutions with them.  Do they need more practice? Would tuitions help? Could they learn math a different way?
  1. Fail and Grow- Sometimes when we take on new challenges, we slip. It takes time to build up competence and failure is part of that journey. So, when your child joins a tennis class, initially she may lose matches as she is playing with others who have been playing longer than her. So, take this opportunity to talk to her about ‘stretch goals’, where she can push and extend herself. Through failures you grow! Remember Edison failed a 1000 times before he invented a working light bulb!
  1. Fail and Persevere- Resilience and perseverance are key ingredients of success…and they are learnt best through failures! So, in a music class, if the teacher has given the kids a tough song to play or sing…they need to know that while a simpler song would have been easier…this tougher song means that they have to work harder and persevere. And when they finally hit that right note, it feels so good!



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Aparna Samuel Balasundaram is a USA- Licensed Psychotherapist and Parent and Child Expert with 10 years of experience in the USA. She is the Founder of Life Skills Experts and the Life Skills 360¡ System that enables parents and teachers to raise happy, confident and successful children. Visit www.LifeSkillsExperts.com for more information. She is also the Founder of ‘A Flourishing Me’ that offers contemporary Counselling and Life Coaching [www.AFlourishing.me]. Aparna can be contacted at aparna@lifeskillsexperts.com.


  1. aparna

    Thank you so much for your feedback, truly appreciated! Yes, we may ‘fail’ at many things [as in not achieve the goal we set]…but it does not make us a ‘failure’. We cannot let our failures define us…

  2. Aparajita Bose

    Yes, Aparna, now we need to walk the talk that failures are the pillars of success that we have heard so often right from childhood but continue to ignore. Your post brought it out so well!


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