By: Adam Welch, Varsity Golf Coach, Science Teacher
What do the following people have in common: Thomas Edison, J. K. Rowling, Walt Disney, Michael Jordon and Beyonce’? Every one of these powerful individuals failed at their craft sometime during their lifetime. Edison did not succeed the first time with the light bulb, Rowling wasn’t accepted at her first college choice, Disney was fired for not being creative, Jordan didn’t make the varsity basketball team and Beyonce’ lost on Star Search. If any of these individuals had stopped or quit after failure, how would that have affected their future? The question then becomes, do we let our children fail, or do we step in and make sure that does not happen?
Failure is eminent throughout our lifetime and will also be a part of our children’s lifetime. Our children should understand some extent of failure. Failure teaches us many things including perseverance, problem solving, humility, creativity and experience. Thomas Edison said about the light bulb, “I have not failed, I have found 10,000 ways that wouldn’t work.” Through perseverance, creativity and experience, he eventually found a way for it to work. In the classroom, not every student is going to get every problem or question right every time, but if they learn from their incorrect answers, success should follow.
As a coach, I see failures on a daily basis. In basketball, not every shot is made, not every dribble or pass is perfect and even the best fail most every time they step on the court. Every baseball player strikes out or makes an error at some point of their career. Even the best golfers hit a bad shot into the hazard or out of bounds, but they continue to play. Teaching athletes that failure is going to occur, but what can be learned and applied to future attempts makes the best athletes. Michael Jordan was once quoted, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Being successful is not an attribute that we are born with, it is achieved through hard work, persistence and yes, even failure.