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Community Comment: The best lesson my kids learned in school

If they don’t learn to fail, they will fail to learn.
Delta school classroom
Students are returning to the classroom this week.

I don’t think my kids ever looked forward to the first week of school.

A new class (or classes), 10 months ahead of them until summer arrived again, and knowing that, very soon, the weather was going to get colder.

My wife and I always said, ‘One day they will be out of school, and we won’t be dealing with this.’

That seemed so far off, but the day arrived a couple years ago. Post-secondary is a whole different ball game, at least we don’t have to worry about making lunches or driving to school.

As I look back on the time my kids spent in the classroom, I started thinking about the important things they learned. The most important lesson, I believe, was how to recover from failure.

Everyone fails at something, no one is perfect. Being sheltered from it, or not taking responsibility for it, sets you up for much bigger problems later in life. At an early age, learning that not everything will go your way is an important experience. How to grow from it is even more important.

My son loved rugby. After one playoff game in Grade 9 in which he didn’t get to play, he was very upset and wanted to quit. I told him he could, or he could ask the coach why he didn’t play, and what he needed to do to get into the next game. He did, and the next game he was on the field. Little did I know, he asked the coach after every practice and game for the next three years what could he do to improve. The coach always had to watch him, because he knew he’d have to be ready with feedback.

We don’t do kids any favours doing their homework, arguing with teachers about grades or lobbying for them to make a team. We are better off finding out what went wrong from teachers and coaches and working on it for next time.

If they don’t learn to fail, they will fail to learn.

Brad Sherwin, MBA is a long-time resident of South Delta, and has over 30 years’ experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He teaches post-secondary marketing, coaches hockey goalies and is past-president of Deltassist.