Why Kids Should Fail


Failure is part of life, but is it part of God’s good plan for our lives? If so, how should we handle failure in a godly way? Walt’s words show us how to help our kids with failure.

God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble James 4:6

“You are going to fail this course!” These words were spoken to me by my Greek professor at seminary, and I couldn’t believe my ears. Failure simply could not be God’s will for my life. I explained to prof that we had three young sons and I needed to stick to my schedule, finish school as quickly as possible and get that job.

I told him how diligently I had studied, and I was just .4 from a passing grade. Surely he would let me slide into Greek 2.

What he said next made me angry. “Have you ever failed at anything you really set your mind to? For the rest of your life you will minister to people who have had marriages or businesses fail. Others who have experienced failure with health issues or broken relationships. How will you have compassion without truly experiencing failure yourself? You need to fail this course!”

We need to understand failure has an instructive purpose in our lives. When we fail at a project we should ask, “Why did I fail? What do I need to do differently?” In my case with Greek, the next time I took the class I would faithfully attend the tutorial sessions and seek study sessions with fellow students. I learned better in collaborative group settings where I felt free to ask questions without fearing embarrassment. Failure taught me how to be a better student, and the lessons learned allowed me to academically succeed and eventually pass proficiency exams in Greek, Hebrew, German, and French.

We need to experience failure for the redemptive purpose in our lives. Failure should lead to humility, and Scripture reminds us “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (James 4:6).” We are forced to admit our automatic default towards self-sufficiency and independence when we fail and move towards dependence on God through prayer. Psalm 9:10 reminds us, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never failed those who seek you.”

We need to believe failure has an eternal purpose, an important part of God’s plan for a watching world. How can something appearing to be such a mess then result in a “happy ending?” When Jesus came for his final week of life to Jerusalem the people cried out “Hosanna!” or “Save Now!” (Mark 11). Save us by establishing Your Kingdom. Save us from the Romans politically and militarily. Save us from the Pharisees and Sadducees religiously.

Jesus seemed to fail miserably at those tasks at His crucifixion – but He did succeed spectacularly at saving all who come to Him by faith. He saves us spiritually by providing a remedy for our sin sickness and adoption into God’s forever family.

For us individually, we must come to God admitting we have failed to meet His holy standard and we have sinned (Romans 3:23) in order to experience the “free gift of god, eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God has bigger plans than my perceived “success” and desired “schedule.” Part of God’s plan for our lives is to be more conformed to the image and character of Christ (Romans 8:29).

“Parents, the confounding truth is we need to allow our kids to fail in order to help them learn to succeed in Christ!”


Related Blogs

  • Dating: Hobby vs Purposeful or challenging? Now or later? Why or why not? Group or one on one? Him, really? Her, really? All these questions can come to mind as we aim to guide our kids in dating. Mark gives us solid, practical truth to hold fast to as we navigate this stormy sea with our kids! Another great re-run!

    Learn more
  • How Can We Help Our Kids Struggle Well?

    How often do you encourage your child to try something hard? When they do and fail miserably how do you encourage them? We often want our kids' lives to be easy and only full of success. Rachel points us back to the truth of what we have to gain by admitting our weaknesses because of God's great grace.

    Learn more
  • Failure…It Takes Humility to Handle Well

    Do your kids know it is ok for them to fail? Failure is one of those life lessons not easy or enjoyable to learn. Read how GK points us to the One Who holds us and grows us even when we fail.

    Learn more
  • How Can Kids Organize Life?

    Organization is an effort to grow maturity in our kids...pointing them toward responsibility, ownership, and independence. Cole leads us in how we can grow our kids to be champions in this way.

    Learn more
  • Does Practice Make Perfect?

    We have our whole life to practice things like patience, wise decision making, kind reactions, etc. Why is it so hard to get those things right e v e r y time? Judah explains how we can rest in Christ's perfection as we seek to point others to him whether we fail or succeed.

    Learn more
  • Navigating Mental Health

    Mental Health or the lack thereof is something affecting so many of us. Walt brings to light the value and blessings of prioritizing mental health in our families.

    Learn more