As you’re reading this, Bryan and I are likely driving down a rain-soaked road somewhere between Louisiana and North Carolina. We’re rushing back home (safely, of course!) to get our kids dressed up in their Halloween best for a night of sugary treats and spooky fun! And behind all the sweet candy and incredible costumes, I’m reminded that this holiday is, at least in part, a celebration of fear. For this one day each year, we ENJOY facing our fears and being scared (how strange!) But the fears we playfully enjoy on Halloween are much different than the fears we actually face in real life.
And when thinking about our real-world fears, it’s important to realize we’re often more afraid of failing at whatever thing we might be facing than we are the thing itself. As parents, this fear begins with us. We tend to make failure into the big scary monster our kids should try their best to avoid. But there are so many life lessons to be learned in failure. Failure builds character, strength, resilience, and even confidence as children learn they are bigger than the failure-monster inside their heads. Failure is actually a gift … even though we (ironically) fail to see it that way!
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
It’s incredible to me how often this topic is brought up. During one of our home shows just this week, the topic of failure at camp was discussed. Though it might sound strange, one of the greatest things about camp is children experiencing failure. When they fail at camp, they brush themselves off and try again. They see failure at camp as an opportunity. They learn, they grow, they gain understanding, ability, and confidence. And then they boldly face down the next challenge because, quite simply, failure doesn’t seem nearly as scary anymore.
So, on this uniquely festive day of fear-celebrations, I want to encourage you to look at the world around you just like you do at camp. Don’t be afraid to branch out, expand, explore, try new things, and yes, fail. It might just be the greatest treat you give yourself this season!
P.S. For those parents who want to read a little more about the subject of failure, there’s an extremely helpful parenting book called “The Gift of Failure” which I’ve linked here. I hope it encourages and equips you as much as it has me!