Friday, September 27, 2013

Rituals and Routines: Creating a Family Culture - Part 2

Some years ago, I saw the creator of Spanx on Oprah. It was once of those great shows where little inventions made folks millions. What was amazing about this woman's story is how she talked about a successful road that was also filled with failures. She was able to fail and continue time & time again. 

In today's society, we're all somehow programmed whether by our upbringing or media to feel that we have to be "perfect" at everything. We only want to shine the light on successes. We want to have all the answers and get it all right, all time time. Of course, that isn't how life works. 

Life is about a willingness to navigate the good and the bad. For the creator of Spanx this idea of accepting successes and failures came with a simple question as she grew up. Everyday her father would ask her what she succeeded at and failed at that day? Every single day she became more and more comfortable with acknowledging her failures and a successes. 

My husband and I caught wind of these two questions and knew they fit in well with our family's rituals and routines. Ever since we began asking our children these questions and they've really enjoyed sharing their answers. But I will admit it's often hard for our seven year old to identify a failure (and the babies just babble). It's so ingrained in our oldest, even at such a young age, that he should only have "good" things to share. The question about failure though it seems negative is actually a great way to allow children to accept and understand their emotions around shortcomings. It almost desensitizes a person who would otherwise become addicted to approval and a need to be perfect. We hope to show our children that in everyday we have things we do well and other things we do not do so well. And honestly, I believe it makes us less fear-based. If failure doesn't scare us, imagine all that can truly be accomplished. 

As a mother, I think about how I live my day and I do my best to communicate with my children. I share the things I succeeded in and the things I failed in. Sometimes that failure could be how I lost my patience and yelled unjustly at one of them. I love how vulnerable and honest we all allow ourselves to be as well as how much this prepares our children to face the real world. As a family we aren't tied to the good or the bad and don't seek the ever-fleeting "perfection" we might otherwise live our lives craving.

What life lessons have you learned from failure?

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