A Recipe for Failure
~ The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14) ~
Over the past number of years I have discovered that I have a talent for cooking and baking. Experimenting with different ways of preparing food and sharing it with friends and family is a huge pleasure for me. Recently, I decided to bake sugar cookies for the first time. Simon and Sophie watched me assemble the ingredients and mix the dough. What they didn’t know is that when I placed the mixture in the fridge to cool I knew something was wrong. An hour later, when we began to roll it out and cut it into shapes, the cookies were crumbly. I added water…with little improvement. When the cookies came out of the oven, they didn’t look right; even worse, they tasted ‘floury’. “Daddy,” Sophie said tentatively, “that’s not right.” I simply replied, “Yep…I failed.” Both kids looked at me funny. I then realized that they had never seen me unsuccessful at anything before…or at least had me admit it. A quick decision needed to be made – cover up and make an excuse or own the failure and show them how to learn by it.
Teaching failure to my children is something I never considered until recently. Since becoming a father, I have focused on promoting success in my children — academically, socially and physically. When situations arose where I had the choice to expose my children to failure, I became hesitant. Who wants their child to fail? Not me. Yet we all fail, all the time. We fail in our roles as parents, in our careers, in relationships with others and in our walk with God. How we handle our failures? Do we give up? Get frustrated? Lay blame? I realized that I needed to teach my children how to deal with failure.
“It’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it,” I told them as I scraped the cookie disaster into the garbage. What did my children witness? I accepted my failure, read online tips for cookie making, consulted another cook (my mother-in-law), recognized what I needed to change next time, and planned to try to bake another set. Yet, I was laying the foundation for future and more significant failures that will come in their lives. When they fail with friends, or at school or at work they will know the basic steps to move beyond the failure.
1. Consult God’s word — this is the recipe for your life so it’s important to follow the instructions.
2. Recognize where you went wrong or what happened — what ingredient did you leave out or forget?
3. Ask someone who is knowledgeable to point you in the right direction — talk to wise counselors and pray to God for guidance.
4. Try again –accept the failure, learn from your mistake and move on.