School Beat: Benefits of Failure

By Kyle Avink

Student Activities Coordinator, East Rockford Middle School

The question remains: is there a benefit to failure? Every day, students across our district will have successes and failures. What students learn from their failures can turn into life lessons on resiliency.

As children navigate through life, they are also navigating through their emotions and how they react in the face of adversity. Our children WILL face situations that make them feel sad, disappointed, and even angry. As adults, we are in a position to help our students grow during these times. Here are some suggestions about how we might help them turn a difficult situation into an opportunity for growth.

  • Don’t fix it for them. Facing these emotions head on is the first step in learning to cope with them. Let them know that these emotions are normal, and that you are there for them. Simply having an empathetic ear of someone who has gone through these emotions can validate what they are feeling.
  • Don’t make excuses. When we are feeling down about a situation, it’s easy to put the blame on someone else: a teacher, a coach, or a boss. Helping them take responsibility for their role is important in moving forward.
  • Look forward. Although it may seem like the end of the world at the moment, it’s not. Help them to see that there is still tomorrow. They may still have these feelings, but each day is a new day.
  • Be a role model. How we deal with our daily failures and adversities will shape how our children deal with them as well. It is important to remember that what our children see often shapes them more than what we might say.

Sometimes the most difficult bumps and bruises in life are the ones we can’t see: the emotional ones. Creating a safe and loving environment for your child to identify and express their feelings is important in building resiliency for what may come later in life. Parents, teachers, and coaches can all be part of teaching the hard lessons about what comes after the fails. By instilling resiliency in our students after a failure, we are teaching them that adversity breeds strength and growth.