Let your kids see you try and fail at something. That’s what I did today!
My daughter wanted to take a knitting class together. I said sure, naively thinking the skill would come pretty naturally. I’m usually good at things like this.
Guess what? It didn’t. Although she picked it up easily and was basically a knitting pro within five minutes, the teacher kept correcting me, saying, “No, UNDER! You need to go UNDER, not OVER.”
She was kind enough, but it just wasn’t clicking. I started to get frustrated with myself. I normally take things like this in stride and give myself lots of grace. Instead, I let several unresolved issues from the week manifest in stress toward my knitting needles. I quickly felt defeated and downright exasperated.
My daughter tried to coach me through in the way that only a 9-year-old can, “Mama, pretend the knitting needles are horses’ reins and you need to make the horse go THAT direction.” (I’m also not a natural at horseback riding, but that’s a story for another day.)
I heard myself mutter just loudly enough for her to notice, “This is so much harder than it looks. I’m not very good at it.”
And then I remembered, she was watching to see how I handled my frustration. So, I quickly added a word: yet.
“I’m not very good at it, yet.”
We both softened a bit when I said it. I looked up and smiled at her. I added, “I’m going to keep practicing, and then I’ll get better. It’s hard now, but many new things are. I’ll get there.”
Then the strangest thing happened, on my very next try, it clicked. I knitted correctly. And then I kept knitting correctly. Before I knew it, I had a whole line of . . . something. Knitted yarn. Whatever it was. I didn’t actually make anything. Just a couple of rows of neatly knitted yarn. A win for perseverance. A win for “yet.”
Lest I’d forgotten the word “yet,” I’d likely still be sitting in that shop (long after dark, mind you), likely wiping my tears of failure into absorbent balls of yarn. But yet makes a big difference. In our perspective. In our self-trust. In our willingness to keep trying and ultimately, to persevere.
Model the yet. Kids will see us get frustrated, but are we also modeling what to do with our frustration? Do they see us modeling defeat or resilience? These little moments matter. They’re the antidote to failure.