When Children Fail

My mother taught me well, "You never know what's down the road, so be careful when commenting on others' failures and mistakes."  That's good advice.

As parents, we never know what's down the road with regard to our children.  We do everything in our power to lay the path to a happy, successful future for them, but we just can't predict where their roads will take them.

That's why I feel so deeply when parents meet with great challenges, disappointments and tragedy related to their children.  I immediately want to make it better; heal the wound or turn back time, but the reality is that we all face sadness related to our children at some point in life's journey.

The best we can do when tragedy strikes is reach out to support, help one another and lend a hand as families and children heal and find a way to survive.  That's what we'd hope for in a similar situation.

We can also work to prevent tragedy, loss and pain, by doing some or all of the actions listed below.
  • Be observant and speak up when you notice a child in pain or trouble.  By speaking up, you are potentially saving the child from greater despair and problems.
  • Model appropriate behavior and language.
  • Be informed and read the latest information about physical, emotional, social and academic health and progress.
  • Know your children well--listen to their words, actions, thoughts and desires.  Ask, who is the person my child desires to be, and how can I positively contribute to that?
  • Engage your children in positive activity as much as possible.
  • Listen to the comments and actions that others make regarding you and your children.  Often friends and family members notice things that you're not aware of.
  • Seek the consult and help of others.  It does take a village to raise children, and often a teacher, coach, friend or neighbor has what your child needs.  Don't be afraid to ask as people are usually delighted to share their gifts and insight.
  • When possible, encourage others to turn energy related to despair and anger towards promise and understanding.
Life's journey is not easy.  We can expect our children to "take us down roads we have never traveled."  Embrace the journey, and don't do it alone.  Let's do the best we can for our children and all children.


  1. Note, I realize that it's easy to post comments like these when one is not facing a moment of great challenge--I know those moments carry unimaginable emotion.


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