Have you ever resisted doing something because you didn’t want to fail?
Do you rescue your daughter and do everything you can to prevent her from failing?
Failure is necessary and inevitable. Every successful person has experienced much failure.
I’ve written about the importance of letting your teen fail before and you can read about this HERE.
Personal success and failure is one thing, but what about when we look at our current world situation and wanting to make change. Failure seems inevitable.
“Nuclear war. Climate change. Pandemics that kill tens of millions. These are the most viable threats to globally organized civilization. They’re the stuff of nightmares and blockbusters—but unlike sea monsters or zombie viruses, they’re real, part of the calculus that political leaders consider everyday. A new report from the U.K.-based Global Challenges Foundation urges us to take them seriously.” The Atlantic News.
Kids at school learn this kind of stuff as facts. They learn information with little scope for emotional processing.
I was talking with a Year 9 class the other day about study skills, getting in good study and organisational habits before reaching senior school, and developing learning skills for life. Their response, “it doesn’t matter anyway Miss, we’re all going to be dead in five years.”
Me, “who told you that?”
Them, “Mr Hurley. He said there’s going to be a big pandemic within the next five years. It was in TIME magazine.” And it was, you can read it HERE.
They were learning about pandemics and epidemics in science so this was relevant information for their teacher to share. But wow. Yes, educationally relevant to the topic. Yes, people need this information. However, more often than not, rather than inspiring action, the reaction to this kind of information is SHUT DOWN. They’re right – why worry about developing skills for life if this is their future.
So what’s the answer? Click HERE to read my blog, “How to help teens cope with the despair in the world.”
But what does any of this have to do with my greatest failure?
I’m far from a perfect teacher, or a perfect mentor. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by life stressors – personal and global. Sometimes I don’t do everything I can each day. I get takeaway coffee cups and the occasional plastic bag. Sometimes I avoid these feelings and get stuck in addictive patterns – screens, caffeine, even exercise.
I feel stressed and anxious some of the time. I have tools to manage this, but it’s still there.
Sometimes I don’t follow up on things I should. Sometimes I don’t keep my word. There have been times when I haven’t planned a lesson so I’ve put on a documentary. Sometimes I lose my temper. Sometimes I call them “little buggers” or “little turds” (in my head!!!). I see other teachers and parents and I criticise them for not being perfect, when I’m far from perfect myself.
My greatest failure is that I’m human and I make mistakes. I’m doing my best but I’m not perfect. And I can’t expect more than that from students or others.
The school I’m at now is one of the best I’ve been at with mostly amazingly well-behaved and respectful kids. Yet one day last week there I had to break up a fight in my classroom up and there was no Deputy to deal with the students involved because another student had cut themselves in the toilet and had had to be taken to hospital.
Where do you feel like you’re failing in your life? Do you feel like you can admit your mistakes and ask for support? Are you feeling overwhelmed? What kind of supports do you have to process the stress of our current situation?
The more you do for yourself to model emotional management, the better off your kids will be.
Start with compassion.
The rest of my conversation with the Year 9 class went something like this.
“Individual responsibility for your mental health is important. Yes, eat well, get enough sleep, do what you can to relax etc. But don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not feeling great emotionally. The world situation you’ve been born into is incredibly overwhelming. If you’re reaction to all this was – oh I’m feeling fine – then I’d be worried.”
Did I inspire them to action? Probably not.
Did I give them permission to go easy on themselves? Hopefully.
If you’d like some tools and support to manage stress and overwhelm in your life, sign up to my FREE 5 day Mindful Mums program HERE.
I’m not promising that all of your troubles will vanish.
But I am promising to give you the support and tools you need to honour what you feel and to keep moving forward.
Until next time...