Yesterday my bright daughter was upset. Division was the cause. We are now in the phase of elementary school where failure with math is inevitable. For her, it has begun and it all thanks to long form division. Everything seems hard she said. She kept trying, and trying and still got everything wrong. She doesn’t like to fail and is doing her best but division is so hard. No one in class understood too until the teacher showed what they were all doing wrong. What made her so upset was how easy it actually was when her teacher explained it all. But why didn’t she see it? Why did she fail when she tried it herself? I listened intently as I understood well what was happening here.
I ask why is failing so bad? Her response-I don’t like to fail. I asked again, why don’t you like to fail? Because I keep trying my best but still I fail. So I asked again, why did you keep trying and still failed? Because it was making me so upset, she said. I still asked, why does failure make you so upset? Because there is nothing to learn from failure? Why can’t you learn from failure? I said? Because, wait, you can learn from failure? Breakthrough, I smiled, I replied of course you can. So what are we going to do now that we can learn from failure? I will try not to be too upset? Why will you not be upset even if you fail? Because I know I tried my best. Why will you keep trying even if you fail? Because I can learn from failing. Why is failing now good? Because it teaches me something about myself. I was curious and asked what did it teach? She said, never to give up even if you fail. Mission accomplished.
Teaching how to fail as well as learning from failure is a tall ask for little children. But my grantwriting hat helped me here. I fail all the time I told her. She said really. I said yes. Sometimes the papers I write are rejected and even all the hardwork I put on my grants too. But still I learn from every failure. It’s a teacher too. And like you, it teaches me never to give up. Division has helped me understand the significance of teaching children why failure it’s important. It’s a major keep I intend to continue to work on with my daughter. One that I hope you keep too.