by Ashley Valli
Jiu jitsu is a humbling sport and your child will, invariably, fail many times engaging in it. We encourage you to allow your child the chance to fail. Let them take the theoretical ticket. Play the game of failure again and again.
As an adult, most people will understand that failure is an integral part of learning and bettering yourself for the future — so why is it so hard to allow our kids the same banana pie to the face? There’s many reasons (parental instinct being one of them!), but they are not nearly as strong as the reasons why you should, indeed, let your child learn the sting of failure:
BETTER NOW THAN LATER
The first time you have to give a speech at assembly, first time dealing with being bullied, first time your younger sibling has the audacity to take the last paddle pop, first time failing a test everyone else passed — the list could easily go on. Failure is inevitable, and, as you might have noticed: the more you do it, the less it ends up affecting you in the long run. By letting your child fail, you allow them to take on a level of responsibility for their actions, to acknowledge that [insert failure here] is somewhere they are falling short but they can then move forward with ideas on how to improve. It is an incredibly humbling experience to fail, and an important one too in learning your present capabilities.
Jiu jitsu is fantastic in teaching kids how to fail, particularly in the way that learning how to fail (and learn from it) can better prepare them in the future. Their childhood is a much simpler time to always be around to encourage your child to try again rather than later in life when your adult child’s first few knock-backs will simply have them never trying again or worse, never attempting to learn from their previous mistakes.
By giving your child plenty of chances to fail when they are still a child, they are able to normalise failure so that they might see it as a chance to learn rather than a chance to further fear it. Give them the space to solve their own problems while you can still be behind the scenes to help them when they most need it.
It is amazing to watch kids in jiu jitsu competitions, purely for how cathartic it is in the long-run for them to learn that things won’t always go their way. Kids might cry from the initial nerves of rolling for the first time, they might cry upon losing their first jiu jitsu competition amongst the eyes of all the parents, coaches and other children watching — but they cry mostly because of the fear of failure.
By continuing to fail and normalising failure, your child can acknowledge and learn that it is okay to fail (everyone does it), and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Failure is merely what marks a moment in our life where we are given a chance to reflect and then improve.
THEY SHOULD EXPERIENCE NATURAL CONSEQUENCES
Everyone needs to experience, as soon as possible, the natural consequences of their actions:
- If you throw rocks at other kids, they won’t like you.
- If you don’t study and muck around in class, you will likely not do as well as you could’ve.
- If you’re rolling with someone more experienced than you in the heat of competition, they will likely beat you.
Life goes how it goes, and a child should learn whilst young the natural consequences of their actions. One of the basic instructions of jiu jitsu is that every action has a consequence — when someone takes the back it could lead to your opponent attempting to choke you. Allow your child to fail and learn how to connect the dots without assuming there will always be someone there to shield them from the consequences of their actions.
Enroll your child into one of our BJJ classes today at Kaizen Lab Jiujitsu where your child will be given the lessons of failure in an environment where they are encouraged to learn and grow. Term 4 kicks off on Monday, 14 October!