Is It Alright to Let Our Children Fail Sometimes?
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
It is our natural tendency as parents most times to do all we can to keep our kids from experiencing failure or setbacks. We love them and desperately want them to succeed in all they do. The real question for us to consider is whether this approach is always the best for us or our children.
James 1:2-4 tells us that we should not attempt to cut short the trouble or avoid the failure because it is a great opportunity for us to grow, learn, and develop into who the Lord would have us to be. That same truth should be applied when it comes to our children. These verses tell us that if we allow these seasons of trouble or failure we will have an opportunity for great joy as well as a couple of great learning opportunities for the future. Practically speaking, what does all this mean?
First, I do not believe that he is telling us that we will have great joy when a trouble or failure comes upon us. Instead, he is teaching us that if we allow these troubles or failures to run their course while fully trusting in God, then we will experience something great on the other end of the failure. We will learn that God can be trusted to carry us through any difficulty of life.
Next, James is teaching us that allowing these trials to run their course in our lives will help us to grow in our endurance for whatever this life may hold for us in the future. For our children, these lessons will help them develop the stamina and courage for the difficulties of life that lie ahead for them as they become adults. I love that James even goes on to tell us that if we follow this plan then we will be complete lacking nothing.
It is important for our kids to learn that not everyone always makes the team or plays first string. Also, it is essential to learn that many times we fail because we did not plan to succeed or do all we are supposed to. I have always wanted my children to learn from their mistakes, find their calling, and be prepared to face whatever the future may hold one day when I may not be around to help them through.
More than anything else, I want my children to learn to trust God through both the good and bad times of life. All of this is the essence of what James means by the statement that we will be complete lacking nothing.
As parents, I believe we must daily ask God for the wisdom to help and teach our kids through these seasons of life. Every situation is different depending on the child and the age of the child but the principle of teaching them to accept responsibility remains the same. I have learned over the years with my children not to keep them from failure or enable them to blame someone or something else but to be there to help teach them to get up and rise above when they fall.
I love the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that states: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” May God grant us great wisdom as we lead our children!