September 2 2015

Principal’s Message Sept 2, 15

All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Jesus Christ, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. Romans 3:23

When I was a young child growing up in Tasmania the sport of skateboarding was very popular. Children were always out at skate parks practicing their skills and watching each other skate. There are a number of different ways to learn to skateboard but interestingly the first lesson for any new skater is always the same — learn to fall. Skateboarding is a tricky sport and it is inevitable that you are going to fall off your skateboard and so the first lessons are always about learning to fall off the right way. If you fall the wrong way then you can break your arm or hit your head. If you fall the right way then you don’t hurt yourself and you are able to get back on your board and keep trying.

All parents want their children to succeed but part of them learning to succeed in life is learning to cope with failure. The road to success is paved with failure because failure teaches us how to succeed. It is only when children fail that they have an opportunity to pick themselves back up. It is only when they fail that they learn to work hard. It is only when they fail that they learn what doesn’t work. It is only when they fail that they learn that sometimes people need help. It is only when they fail that they learn empathy for others who are struggling. It is only when they fail that they learn that life is not always fair. It is only when they fail that they understand what being human is.

Research from the American Psychological Association shows that “Children may perform better in school and feel more confident about themselves if they are told that failure is a normal part of learning, rather than being pressured to succeed at all costs” (see: releases/2012/03/120312101439.htm). As parents one of the most powerful things we can do is give our children permission to fail. Not that we want them to fail, we want them to succeed, but failure is part of success, not the opposite of success:

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

As we look forward to a year where your children will experience a lot of success at school, may we also know that their growth will come not only from their successes, but also as they learn from the mistakes they make and the times that they fail.