He was identified as a hot-head, an angry young man mad at the world. He had made the high school basketball team but armed with an intensity that frequently led to angry outbursts, he was not seen as a team player. The coach decided to cut him from the team. While all his buddies proceeded with their high school basketball experience, he failed to hold his spot in that group of athletes.
Have you heard of ‘bulldozer parents’? I was familiar with ‘helicopter parents’ – parents that hover over their children to protect self-esteem in the face of outside influences and potential failures. Evidently ‘bulldozer parents’ roll over, clear obstacles and work to remove any opportunities for failure a child might face on the road of life. Failure is not seen as an option and certainly not as a learning experience. It may start innocently enough, simply trying to avoid the dreaded “B” on the transcript but can get ugly when a parent turns to intimidation of a teacher or coach.
Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer! – Matthew 26:45-46. Jesus’ request was simple, to stay awake and keep watch. The disciples failed not just once but three times! And how did Jesus respond? He said, “Rise! Let us go!” It is not that Jesus discounted the failure to do what He had asked. He knew they would learn from their failure and be stronger as a result just as they had after failing to cast the demon out of the boy (Matthew 17:19-21). And again, when Peter failed Jesus by denying Him three times after He was arrested. Arguably, the failures on their 3-year journey with Jesus did more to prepare the disciples for a life of obedience after Jesus’ return to His Father than their successes. Failure is good when one is allowed to learn the associated lesson.
The young man learned two valuable lessons upon being cut from the basketball team – First, he was a hot-head and needed to get his anger under control; Secondly, his intensity, that which had caused a problem on a team was actually an asset in an individual sport. He decided to focus on tennis and went on to enjoy success through high school and compete at the collegiate level. Failure is good and success is not bad. Both offer valuable opportunities to learn lessons for life.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your patience with the disciples and with me. I have failed on many fronts when it comes to glorifying You in every situation, discussion and relationship. I too often fail to be the Kingdom influence You expect me to be in this world. Forgive me. Strengthen me to stand when I fall, to recognize failure as an opportunity to draw closer to You. Help me learn the lessons I need to learn and equip me to PASS the BATON of faith and family well to the next generation. Amen.
A faithful father understands failure is good for learning life lessons.