“I couldn’t finish my distance swim - but it’s OK, I can just go to level three,” Stacy responded.
I wanted to tell her that it was no big deal - she could just move on to the next level. She failed to meet only one requirement. However, this was an opportunity to talk about something important: the need for perseverance.
“Stacy, you shouldn’t go to level 3.” I said. She looked crestfallen.
I continued, “in our family, we do things that are hard. Sometimes, they’re so hard that we fail. When we fail, we try again until we succeed.”
I asked her how many times she fell off her bike when learning to ride. Then I asked her how she felt when she could stay upright all the time.
“Proud,” she said.
“I want you to have that feeling, Stacy, and sometimes you have to struggle to get it.”
The we watched a video and talked about Diana Nyad.
Two weeks later, Stacy started climbing lessons. Her first three attempts to climb the entire height of the wall were unsuccessful. On her fourth she made it.
I smiled and told her that I was proud of her.
Angie Tarasoff (@angietarasoff) is a Senior Manager with the School Technology Branch in Alberta Education. She believes that it’s better to do hard things and fail than it is to do easy things and succeed.