40 Days of Lenten Reflections
I’ve read numerous articles about why we should let our kids fail. So I gave it a try.
For a few months, I was the hands-off mom. The cool, “Study…um…or not…up to you” mom. Turns out, it worked. The failure part, that is.
Some parents regard any failure by their children as a crisis. James Lehman, MSW with Empoweringparents.com said,
“In a crisis, parents see the danger part very clearly, but often don’t see the opportunity part. They don’t see that their child has the opportunity to learn an important lesson. The lesson might be about the true cost of cutting corners, what happens when he doesn’t do his best at something, or what the real consequences are for not being productive.”
Or in some cases, the lesson may be to craft clever reasons for why they failed. Here are some popular examples I compiled based on experience and research:
1. “SHE didn’t give me a study guide.”
Typically teachers give students tools and strategies to study for tests, but there are those kids who think their teachers should hand deliver the said study guide to their home, place it on the kitchen table, and maybe even complete it for them.
Trust me, under the crumpled paper, broken pencils, and PE clothes in their backpack lie a study guide.
2. “EVERYONE did bad on the test.”
To be executed correctly, this excuse should be said with backbone. Stress on the word EVERYONE while holding onto evvvvvvv——eryone should help their case. Teenager’s pre-frontal cortex has convinced them that if the masses failed, it clearly wasn’t their fault.
Maybe the class is full of slackers or maybe, well, nevermind.
3. “He hasn’t put in the grades for the work I did REALLY WELL on yet and he takes FOREVER to grade!”
(except for tests, apparently)
This excuse is usually coupled with “There’s only one grade in the grade book, so that’s why it seems like such a bad grade.”
Nope. It’s actually a bad grade.
4. “I had THREE OTHER tests to study for!”
Helping students develop good study habits is insanely hard. Teaching them to prioritize and manage their time is even worse. Ultimately it’s up to them what they study for first if at all, but if this is their excuse, make your follow-up the classic:
“Well, you should have started studying earlier.”
5. “It’s not my fault the teacher doesn’t know how to teach!”
Once your kids get into the harder subjects, like AP Calculus and Physics, using the ignorance of the teachers bodes well as an excuse and is surprisingly convincing…I mean the reason for not doing well is coming from a child who qualified to be in the class, so…
NOPE! Don’t fall for it! They should have studied.
6. “I THOUGHT I did well, but I didn’t.”
This is my son’s favorite. It’s the moment when parents have two choices: admit their child did not study enough or at all; or worry they don’t understand any of the content and cancel the family’s summer vacation.
So it turns out failing is an important ingredient in life, but learning from failure is a natural consequence we can all benefit from.