Earlier this week, my 6 years old asked, "Mummy, what is the most important thing that you think we must learn in our lives?"
I gave it a serious consideration for a minute or two and had to admit to him that I can think of many things that are important, but to name any particular one as the most important thing to learn is really hard for me at that point in time.
So I promised I will give it more thoughts and let him know really soon.
When I try to take an objective view of how I parent my boys, there are many areas which I feel I can do better. Almost everyday, when I reflect on the day(s) that just passed, I can instantly see areas with room for improvement. Mind you, I'm referring to areas that I can do better. When I recognise my own areas of failures or faced with setbacks, I realize (in recent years) that it is my perseverance and resilience that enable me to make progress.
The more I think about Marcus' question, the more I feel that perhaps the most important thing that one should learn, and I certainly hope that my boys will, is learning to face and overcome failures.
Life is never a bed of roses. Failures don't only exist in our academic and professional careers. We can't escape failures or setbacks, regardless of age. To a certain extent, experience and maturity help us avoid some failures but there are others which are simply unavoidable.
A child must learn to tolerate disturbing emotions such as anxiety, sadness, frustration and even anger that are produced by failures in order to achieve success.
A child cannot learn persistence unless he comes to accept failure.
In order for the child to experience mastery of any skills, it is necessary for him to fail, to feel bad, and to try again repeatedly until success occurs. None of these steps can be circumvented.
Failure and feeling bad are necessary building blocks for ultimate success and feeling good about oneself.
So this, I think, is my answer to my boy's question. I shall give it a little more thought before I explain it to him tomorrow.