What is Failure?

Great are our dreams about our children’s future. But the child has a dream of his own, too. Very disturbing to us, often, and we brush it aside most of the times. And he has a dream at every stage of the childhood. In general, it is to become a superman or a policeman in case of the boys and to become a caring homemaker or a teacher in case of the girls. Gradually the dream shifts to pilot / astronaut / car racer for boys, dancer / doctor / veterinarian for girls. Much later, the vision shapes up and the orientation paves way to happy realization.

That could be a fairy tale finish. But it is not so always. The child needs to be told time and again that obstacles and hurdles form a part of the road to success. It is easier said than done, in our very own adult lives, so how do we guide our young ones to cope with the failures?
By training him to acknowledge the area of weakness and to work on it.
By encouraging him to appreciate the winner’s / winners’ strength and to instill it in his ventures.

In one of the experiences being shared by one of the team members: She visited a local chess tournament, conducted for school children. After every round, a set of children who won the game emerged smiling, with big, bright and contented eyes. Behind them walked out an equal number of children, most of them with sullen eyes, some even were found shedding tears. There were a handful (or less) who went on to the next round of games without the parental ‘push’. Many had to be cajoled, coaxed and strongly encouraged to face the next round of challenge. This trend continued. A little later when there was a short break, she had an informal chat with a group of participants – winners and losers. Then she asked, “How many of you got dressed this morning to come here to win? Please raise your hands.” Instantly, all raised their hands, looking puzzled, but smiling. “Exactly”, she told them, “Nobody comes all the way to lose. If you didn’t win, it only means that you learnt something that you hadn’t known so far. So, in the game of chess, either you win or you learn and NEVER LOSE.” The reaction was positive and I stayed on. After the next round, alongside the beaming winners came the rest: “This time we learnt, aunty”, they said matter-of-factly. They were not losers. They are TRENDSETTERS. Not just for the game of chess, but for the game of life.

They have learnt:

  • to have a positive approach even in crisis,
  • to keep up their faltering self-esteem,
  • to be alert for the next step forward,
  • to contain their wrong decisions,
  • to watch the thought pattern of those around,
  • to be a wiser person than he was earlier.

Have you heard this anecdote? There was a little boy who spoke to his mother about his dream: “I want to become a horse-rider when I grow up, trotting at high speed and admired by onlookers.” His mother was not shocked and did not insist that he become a ‘Doctor’ or ‘Engineer’ or the like. Instead, she said in an encouraging tone: “Of course, you should, my son. But not just a horse rider, but become a wise one similar to the Charioteer who rode seven horses in the Kurukshetra.” (She was referring to Lord Krishna in the great Hindu epic, Mahabharatha.) And so did the son, when he grew up. He was none other than Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest Indian Philosophers of all times.

So lets NOT tell our children ‘Failure is often the stepping stone to success.’ Lets tell them “there are NO failures in life” Failure is the ONLY way to grow!

Written by Sushant Kalra, Founder Director, Parwarish

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