I’ve heard the same message throughout my life, but up until recently I have been merely repeating what I have always heard. My grandfather used to tell me, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again”. When I played sports my coaches would say no matter how bad the game is going, “Don’t quit”. My teachers repeatedly reminded the class, “Try your best”. After hearing these words over and over they are bound to stick. Words have a certain power to them but all these phrases are meant to instil a belief in oneself that anything is possible if you work for it. This is a life lesson that is learned through trial and error. It is learned by going after a goal and failing at it, but having a belief in yourself that one day you will get there. It takes more than encouraging words spoken by caring adults to really inspire children. We have to find ways to empower children to build lasting belief in themselves. We have to make learning so interesting that even if they fail at it they want to keep trying. We have to make failing part of the process, not an undesirable result. Failing and failing really hard is how learning happens because to fail at something you have to put forward a huge amount of effort. Failing is not about getting a grade and it’s not the same as giving up. These are results of a fear of failure. Most people, adults and children alike, have a fear of failure. Imagine that! Why are people so afraid to fail? No one wants to be known as a failure, but what if we changed the meaning of failure? How can we change the face of failure and make it motivational? When children are learning to walk they crawl first, they fall first and then one day magically they take that first step. It’s already ingrained in us to fail first before we experience success. At some point in our lives we learn that failure is “bad” and we stop chasing after dreams. We learn to do what we are naturally good at it. Sadly some people don’t find that very easy to uncover in themselves. Why do you have to be naturally talented at something to learn how to do it and do it well? I see examples of people doing extraordinary things that are way beyond anything they could be naturally good at. Let’s stop telling children to find their talents and instead empower them to chase after their dreams. Let’s stop making failure so fatal. Let’s be there with encouragement when they fail and help them pick themselves back up and keep going. Let’s show them that we aren’t afraid to fail either and chase after a dream that has been hidden away from our own fear of failure. We need to send this message to children that we believe in them enough to let them fail and teach them how to learn that their failure is making them stronger not weaker. Help children uncover the meaning behind their failed attempts. Help them to see that if they were trying to accomplish something and they didn’t get to their goal right away that they have to keep going and one day they will get there.