In an era of teaching to the test in school and avoiding mistakes at all costs, one of the most important things we need to teach our children these days is that failure in-and-of-itself is not a negative thing. It’s how we react to failure (or overcome fear of failure) that really counts.

Talk to your children about some famous “failures” or quotes from successful historical figures that they can relate to. For instance,

  • Beethoven’s music teacher once said, “as a composer, he is hopeless.”
  • master a kinesthetic skill this summerThomas Edison’s reaction after 8000 unsuccessful trials on a nickel-iron storage battery was, “well, at least we know 8000 things that won’t work.”
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team due to “lack of skill”.
  • A newspaper editor once told Walt Disney that he had no good ideas in film production.
  • The founder of Sony’s first product (an electric rice cooker) sold only 100 units because it burned rice instead of cooking it.
  • Tom Cruise struggled with dyslexia in school, yet has become one of the world’s most famous actors…a profession that requires top-notch reading and reading comprehension skills.
  • Winston Churchill famously stated, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.”
  • Buddha is often quoted as having said, “fall down seven times, get up eight”. Our bet is this famous quotation came from first-hand experience!

Then, decide on one kinesthetic skill—riding a bike, doing a cartwheel, hitting a baseball at the batting cages, catching a football, kicking a soccer ball into the goal, playing a song on the piano, doing a pirouette, etc.—that each family member has not yet mastered and work together as a family to help everyone master those skills this summer. Not only will family members learn to give advice in a way that others can relate to that also doesn’t shame or frustrate the learner, the child receiving the advice will develop their active listening acumen and practice graciously accepting constructive criticism from others.

Enhances both kinesthetic intelligence and interpersonal intelligence.

Forgoing Fear of Failure