Welcome to the other side of success. Just like in life, sometimes our best is not enough to make things work.
This was our experience with that feeling at the fair.
In our craft pictures, we are smiling. But inside we were in a storm. There were tears, disappointments, and a loss of motivation behind these smiles. “This is one of the worst fairs,” said a few of my students. It was a challenging day for sure: the weather was hot, the fair was 5 hours, and customers were not buying. These alone were enough to make any adult want to walk away. However, we stayed. We made a choice to stay, to try, to support one another, and to finish what we started.
This event didn’t go as planned, but we learned from the experience. I believe it is an essential skill for kids to learn how to lose. Not “to snap out of it and keep going,” but how to reflect on failure, deal with emotions, and talk about it.
Here are some practical steps we used:
- acknowledge the effort no matter how small (“I am proud of you for trying” goes a long way)
- emphasize the situation and the feelings associated with it
- validate that feelings exist, and we have a right to feel what we feel
- talk about it without judging, giving advice, or solving the problem (I asked what was so bad about this event and just listened to girls while they were making a list ). This is the hardest part as we try to “fix” things to make our kids feel better.
Guess what happened once emotions were acknowledged and validated? Reasons and solutions came in, and we got a plan for the future events. Yep, we will keep going because we are learning and growing, and failure is part of the process.
How do you handle your kids’ failures? What are your best practices?