September 9, 2023
Every suicide is a unique tragedy that steals the life of the victim too soon and has an ongoing ripple effect that affects the lives of the victim's family, friends, and communities.
More than 13,000 students died in India in 2021 at a rate of more than 35 per day, an increase of 4.5% from the 12,526 fatalities in 2020, with 864 of the 10,732 suicides attributable to "failure in examination." (National Crime Records Bureau,2021). These alarming numbers indicate that it’s time we need to have a switch in understanding the concept of failure.
Even though most of us understand that Failure is a part and parcel of our life, we still hate it, one of the major reasons for the fear of failure is that it is directly linked to our sense of Self-worth. One believes that the ability to achieve and succeed is very crucial to one’s Self-worth and failing to achieve or succeed means that one is not capable or worthy(Covington,2016) Therefore, it becomes imperative that we alter the conversation about failure. We need to understand that “Failure is not the opposite of success, but a necessary component of success”. Failures are essential and crucial to the path of learning, as our brains grow and develop in important ways during the process of failures.
We as Parents and Educators can play an Integral role in bringing a change in the dialogue revolving around failures. These are some ways that we could follow:
Allow your Kids to experience failure: As Parents lets allow our children to experience failure, we as parents are at times too protective and do not like to see our kids struggling, hence we try fixing things for them, instead Allow them to experience the challenging situation, this will allow them to develop their coping and problem solving skills.
Explain the Brain Science behind Failure:
Research suggests that Failure helps brain to learn, when we make mistakes we learn avoidance learning which trains the brain to avoid mistakes. Every time an individual makes a mistake, electrical signals in the brain are firing to make the individual learn.
We need to build a culture of Embracing Failures: We as educators and parents emphasise a lot on Success, we talk about success stories, Along with success stories we also need to familiarise our children with failures, we need to talk to them about failure stories and the learnings derived from it. We need to develop ways to celebrate failures:
1. Introduce Failure Fridays at your institution or at home: Allocate this day to discuss about failure stories. Tell them about failures you experienced and how did you deal with them.
2. Emphasize the acronym
3. Deliberate Discussions when they make mistake: Instead of talking about failures in a hush hush, ask them what they would learn from it, how they would make a change next time. Start the conversations on identifying the things learnt through This is similar to the idea of Failing forward, in failing forward me learn from the mistakes.
Cultivate mindfulness in Children: Even knowing or practicing all these strategies Failure may not be easy to handle, we need to constantly support our children to develop a mindful approach and learn to respond when they are experiencing big emotions rather than simply reacting. We need to help them regulate their emotions.
Let’s Normalise Seeking out Help: We need to help our children develop a growth mind-set, we should normalise and educate them about how to reach out for help, to whom to reach out for help, and when to reach out for help. Failures are part and parcel of our lives, instead of focusing on what went wrong, we should train our children for looking at how this can be worked out better the next time. Seeking a Professionals help when needed should be normalised.
We as parents and Educators need to reframe the way perceive failure, Failure can be seen as giving a try, Practicing and putting your effort and not something that you need to be ashamed of. We can help our Children understand that learning from failure is essential to develop as a person. Developing this attitude towards failure is not an inborn trait it’s an amalgamation of behaviours, thoughts and actions that need to be learnt and cultivated.