“Whatever he does he does it to the best of his capacity and keeps on doing in the face of almost certain failure. He always thinks straight and acts straight.” – The Mother.
Understanding Children’s Experience with Failure
Success and failure is a part of life and an inconclusive yet influential idea of our human mind. One of the key factors in bringing up an emotionally balanced child is to help her understand failure. As a conscious parent the first step is to examine our understanding, attitudes and behaviors about failure.
- Defining failure.
- Look back on life when you thought you had failed!
- What was the experience?
- What were your feelings and your thoughts?
- What were the immediate consequences?
- How did you react to the consequences?
- What were the long term consequences?
- How do you feel about it today?
- Reflect on incidents in the past when you thought your child had failed or you feared that your child would fail.
- How did you react during that incident?
- What were the messages you gave your child during and after that incident?
- If you think you need to readdress that issue with your child what would you change? If yes, make that change today.
Jerome Bruner, a distinguished American psychologist said, we want students to “experience success and failure not as reward and punishment but as information.”
Can we do the same?
For more insight, here are some excerpts from the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother –
As for the question of what is necessary for progress, in an evolving world everything is necessarily a help to progress; but individual progress extends over a considerable number of lives and through innumerable experiences. It cannot be judged on the basis of a single life between birth and death. On the whole, it is certain that the experience of a life of failure and
defeat is just as useful to the soul’s growth as the experience of a life of success and victory; even more so, no doubt, than the experience of an uneventful life, as human existence usually is, in which success and failure, satisfaction and disappointment, pleasure and pain mingle and follow one another—a life that seems “natural” and does not require any great effort.
–The Mother. 4 May 1960
CWM- Vol. 10-On Thoughts and Aphorisms, Pg 56
“His failure is not failure whom God leads”
Because it is part of the play?
It is the human mind that has the conception of success and failure. It is the human mind that wants one thing and does not want another. In the divine plan each thing has its place and its importance. So it is not success that matters. What matters is to be a docile and if possible a conscious instrument of the Divine Will.
To be and to do what the Divine wants, this is the truly important thing.
-The Mother. 3 December 1968
CWM-Vol – 16 – Some Answers from The Mother, pg 389
Difficulties are sent to us exclusively to make the realization more perfect. Each time we try to realise something and meet with a resistance or an obstacle or even a failure—what seems to be a failure—we should know, we should never forget that it is exclusively, absolutely, so that the realisation may be more perfect.
So this habit of cringing, of getting discouraged or even of feeling uncomfortable, or of abusing yourself and telling yourself: “There! Again I have made a mistake”—all that is absolute foolishness. Simply tell yourself: “We don’t know how to do things as they ought to be done; well, they are being done for us, come what may!” And if we could see to what extent all that seems to be, yes, a difficulty, a mistake, a failure, an obstacle—all that is just to help us, so that the realisation may be more perfect.
Once you know that, everything becomes easy.
- The Mother. 6 October 1958
CWM – Vol. 14 – Words of The Mother-II, pg 218