My guest was a man who had died twice (nope not a typo) on the operating table and then was told he would never walk again. I think you would agree that he was an expert on the subject of adversity. The back story was that my podcast guest Marcus Aurelius Anderson while in the Army ended up having a severe injury while training for his deployment.
One of the last questions for Marcus (and yes his middle name is really Aurelius) was what one piece of advice could he give to parents when dealing with adversity?
Personally I was never a confident kid nor evening into adult hood and this is why as a bystander watching our kids deal with their own adversity is amazing to see. Where do they get the skills to handle some of life challenges?
Yes, their have been some meltdowns because a piece of paper that was “super important” to them has suddenly gone missing. OK, not all of life issues have been handled with any sense of decorum.
After I gave Marcus the question, my intention was to let him think about it because there was an example of adversity with my son that could illustrate why I am in such awe of our kids.
My example was about how last hockey season my son did not make the competitive team. He was going to still play hockey but not at the level he wanted to. Two years’ prior he was playing on the” travel” team and that is a bit of a status for many of the kids. My son not so much of status but more of simply getting to be on the ice 5 times a week compared to recreation or know as “rec” where it was only 2 or three days a week.
When I explained to Marcus my example he came back with something I have written about before. The answer is what I hope you will use as a take away and the answer is very simple. We need to let our kids fail.
Marcus was in the hospital for three months after his surgery. As I was listening to his story about those dark days in the hospital, he did not have to say it but he was going through the stages of grief. Come on what would you do or how would you handle being told the news by medical professionals that you would never walk again.
I want to emphasis that I am not comparing a serious issue of not being able to walk to not playing travel hockey. I really hope that is not my message. What I am saying is how do we as both parents and humans deal when life does punch us in the face?
Marcus had to make a choice of either laying in bed watching Netflix or learning himself on how to fail. Just like my son had to say that maybe that tryout was not his time and to learn not just how to be a better hockey player but to also learn about failing. This is what my son did.
After we saw the results from the hockey association that my son was “cut” we talked about it. I really should say that he brought it up first. He was very mature about the situation and yes, we both agreed that he did not have a good enough tryout. We were both a bit excited because again he was still playing hockey. Even though he failed at making it to the competitive level he still learned how to turn a negative into a positive.
The big win was that today Marcus is a: TEDx Speaker, Mindset coach and Author of the book “The Gift of Adversity” coming out October 31, 2017.
Letting kids fail is a good thing. Not only do I feel as we parents or let me even take it to another way, even youth coaches let kids fail. Then after a moment or two ask them what did they learn? Ask them do not tell them how they failed. Does that make sense?
Listen you hopefully will never die TWICE on the operating table. You will encounter failures. Your kids too will fail. How you and them handle those moments of adversity will be the true test;
As I stated earlier of being in awe of our kids because for me as many times I have encountered failure the only thought is boy do I suck. As the famous proverb goes:
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
Executive producer and host of the podcast Blending The Family where you can find on Stitcher Radio, ITunes and IHeart Radio. Tommy has spoken at TEDx, Ignite Fort Collins and Keynote Speaker at Everything Dad Convention. The author of the books “25 Tips For Divorced Dads.” “Why not you, Why Not Me” and His new book “My Dad’s Advice At 5:04 AM” is coming out in 2017. Tommy enjoys a good red blend while writing or hiding from the family. A dad to Betsy, Becca, Connor, Duke and husband to Ann. You can connect with Tommy at the website BlendingTheFamily.Com