Sounds like a silly question at first, right? However, when our children are small and learning to walk, we help them over and over. We encourage them to get back up and try again, and again, and again. We get excited at every step forward and celebrate their small steps. Fast-forward a million steps later, and we have teenagers. Are we still encouraging our children through their failures, or do we find ourselves frustrated and angry with them for not getting a task done correctly?
One 13-year-old boy was sent to the program I ran because he was failing school. The academic failure caused relationships at home to falter. The teacher blamed the child for poor performance and, of course, the parents jumped right in and heaped on more blame. After the boy's first few weeks in the program, we noticed his attention would wane, and he would distract other students. We asked the boy about his behavior and, after a short conversation, started to suspect he might have vision problems. We took him to an eye doctor and asked the doctor to check the child’s eyesight. Sure enough, the boy’s vision was very poor. Once he received glasses, he shined as bright as could be.
I believe the adults in that young boy’s case were more afraid of their own failure and fear took over. Isn’t it time you let love be louder than fear? Can we love our children through their failures? Can we continue to pick them back up and encourage them with the patience of a loving heart?
Mark is a Marine and a 23 year veteran of the LA County Sheriff's Department. He has been recognized by the State Senate, US Congress and the Governor of California for his work in juvenile intervention.