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Learning New Things and The Fear of Failure

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Faith's Firm Foundation: Learning New Things and The Fear of Failure

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Learning New Things and The Fear of Failure

Learning Blog designing on my own has certainly been an adventure!  I am sure that there have been some interesting sights to behold while elements at times were flying out of control.  I've learned a lot, though, and I really love to stretch myself to learn new things, and not be afraid to fail once in awhile.  I have tried to instill this quality in my children, of not being fearful to look foolish or to perform less than perfectly, or to be humbled, when you're sincerely trying to do something that's new to you. It's a hard one, because we all want to appear at our best to others, to be thought well of, especially by those we admire.

Sometimes we parents analyze too much.  I'm not big on psychology.  I prefer to look in the Bible for my answers. But when I found these tips in an online article in Parent Map, I thought they were very helpful, aside from the label placed on the behavior. (Side note: Personally, I don't want to be put into a box, preferring to believe that God is changing me day by day into a faithful and not a fearful person.) So, may I suggest a new title for these suggestions:  from "Tips for helping the risk-averse child" to "Tips to help your Child be Courageous, Confident and Faithful".)
What can parents (and teachers) do to help risk-averse children meet new challenges? Chris Ladish, M.D., offers these tips:
  • Emphasize effort as much as outcome. Praise the fact that the child tries. Help lay a foundation for the child to develop a self-appraisal that is defined in terms of effort and willingness as much as in the end result.
  • Take breaks. None of us are at our best when pushed beyond our limits. Taking a break and then coming back to a task can help a child regroup and feel more energized to return to that task.
  • Try to end on positive notes. Divide complex tasks into smaller, more doable segments, and celebrate the completion of each.
  • Create a healthy balance between challenging projects and tasks, and easy ones.
  • Review the day with your child. Spend time talking about success.
  • Catch the child doing "right." The more a child hears and receives praise for positive efforts, the more that child will come to internalize that message. The expectation is that this will contribute to an increased willingness to keep trying.
  • Embrace failure and assist the child not to fear it. Failure or lack of success is an essential element of learning that helps us shape our future strategies to challenges. All of us had to fall many times before we learned to walk.

The Bible is replete with examples of how God used "failure" in a person's life to teach them spiritual lessons and to bring them to where He could use them in a mighty way.  Help your child see that there are lessons to learn from failing.  Turn him to the Word of God, and encourage him to try again.

Do you have a story of success in this area? How have you taught your children, or yourself, not to be afraid of failure--and to try, and learn, new things?
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Blogger Barbie said...

These are great tips. I envy anyone who has a desire to learn web designing. It's something I would love to learn, but do fear failure and messing up my pretty space! I'd rather pay to have it done! Happy Monday!

May 20, 2010 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

You are very wise.

May 20, 2010 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

My goal is not to spend ANY money on blogging. I have only spent money on two things so far: my giveaway and blogfrog, and I may quit the second for that reason. So, I haven't wanted to pay anyone to design my blog. I actually really love blog design! I could do it all day long. When I was at the library this week, I picked up some books, and my son told me he can show me a bunch of sites online (he also has Creative Suite) to help me!
I would love to take a class on it sometime. It's fun when you find something new that you really enjoy! (Like blogging:)

May 21, 2010 at 9:42 AM  

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