This morning, I gave NHL two very important pieces of advice. The first came when I talked to NHL about failure. Lately, we’ve noticed that he isn’t trying to do things that we know he can do. He’ll say “I can’t do it” or “It’s too hard.” If pressed, he does the task easily. We believe the problem is that he’s afraid to fail.
Yesterday, I was watching an online video of the Mythbusters. They were trying to test a myth from the movie Hellboy where a speeding car has it’s hood smashed in by Hellboy and goes flipping over. Kari, Grant and Tory were having problems as the giant metal fist they made and the SUV wouldn’t get into right position at the right time. Suddenly, I remembered the Mythbusters motto: Failure is always an option.
On the way into school today, I told NHL about this (promising to show him the episode later on). He remembered other episodes we saw where they tried something and didn’t get it to work. Specifically, he recalled Adam and Jamie’s Christmas-themed Rube Goldberg device which failed in every way imaginable and a few ways they didn’t imagine beforehand.
Were the Mythbusters frustrated? Sure. Were they upset that it didn’t work right? Of course. Did they quit? No. I told NHL that, when the Mythbusters failed at something, they figured out what went wrong, fixed it as best they could and tried their best again and again and again. I told him that failing at something wasn’t bad. Everyone fails at some point in their lives. It’s how you react to the failure that’s key. If you cry and whine and never try again, that’s bad. If you dust yourself off, figure out what went wrong and try again, you’re learning from your mistakes and turning the failure into something useful.
The next piece of advice came after NHL told me that a classmate of his had called him a “loser.” This hurt me deeply. As I’ve written about before, I was a victim of bullying for many years. I thought back to when I was a child hearing insults be thrown my way and thinking that I had no recourse. I tried to come up with some advice for him. This was my advice:
Don’t listen to them, NHL. You aren’t a loser just because someone says you are. Don’t let their words have any power over you. If someone puts you down or criticizes you, tune them out. Ignore them. Of course, if mom, dad or your teacher say you’re doing something wrong, don’t tune us out. Pretty much everyone else can be tuned out, though, when they say negative things about you. The most important opinion is your own.
My Aloha Friday question for today is: What piece of advice have you given your children recently?
Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the McLinky there if you are participating.