The Lessons in Failure 

Today across Scotland,  150,000 kids recieved texts or opened envelopes containing their exam results.

According to the SQA,  the percentages of passes is up on last year.

My daughter Claire was up all night waiting for her text to come in and texted me when her arrived at 6am.

Last night in the kitchen,  I tried to talk to her about it,  but she was so anxious that she didn’t want to discuss.

After each exam,  I’d asked her how she felt and she wasn’t feeling confident.

Which may be true,  but is difficult to gauge because like lots of other kids,  she’s her own worst critic.

Last night in the kitchen,  I aware of her anxiety and didn’t really want to discuss either,   I just gave her a hug and told her that theres no point in worrying about something that you can’t change,  that’s already done and is out of your hands.

Whats more important is to deal with the consequences.    Not that I actually said that.

I told her that no mattter what,  we would deal with it,  good or bad.

Fortunately her results were good,  AABB,  and she has entry to the degree course she wanted.

i’m delighted for her,  proud of her,   it’s another bridge crossed along her path.

But what if she had failed or her grades weren’t good enough as will have happened to many other kids?

Disappointing yes,  but you deal with it.

As a parent you put your disappointment second and help them deal with it.

It’s their life,  they don’t need to be reminded that they failed,  they know already,  they’ve seen their mates pass and although they are happy for them,  they wil be gutted for themselves,  they don’t need us giving them a hard time.

Failure is part of life,   it’s a crossroads that leads us to two paths.

The first path is we learn from our mistakes, try harder and take the test again.

The second path is that possibly this road isn’t for us or not at this point in our lifes.

Academia isn’t for everyone and just because a child failed an exam,  doesn’t make the child a failure.

If you happen to have a kid that didn’t have the best results,   I’m sure you’ll provide all the support and guidance they need.

They have their whole lifes ahead of the and everything will work out okay in the end.

10 years from now, none of these exams will matter.

I don’t want to blab on about my own kids,  i’m a proud dad,  but it’s not been without its moments of trauma.

Steven failed his fifth year highers .. failed  .. bang .. he wasn’t going to school and is mum was covering for him.

IWas I annoyed?

You bet,   but what was more upsetting  was the lie,  the pretence that he was at school and all was on target.

He was scared to tell me that he’d failed,   lazy as he was,  no son really wants to upset his father, be a failure, or go against everything that his father had tried to do for him.

Yes I was angry,  but more importanty,  I had a 16 year old son,  who had failed his exams,  had no entry to university and was absolutely hopeless at using his hands and was unlikely to go down the tradesman route.

I had a couple of options,   leave him to suffer the consequences,   or support him.

There;s only really one option if you care about your kids,  you support them no matter what.

So we talked through his options

A – He tries to get more hours stacking shelves in the supermarket he worked for part-time

B – He tries to find a better job, call centre or somewhere that pays but is really going nowhere.

C – He tries again,  no nonsense this time.

That year was hard,  for him and me,  relearning calculus and other mindless bolocks that kids will never use in the real world.

Seriously what is the point in that?

Once upon a time,  after no guidance at school or from my own dad except for “get a trade son”,  I stumbled upon an apprenticeship in the shipyards,  then left after my apprenticeship Ideciding that I could do better.

I then did 5 years of mathematics at university,  including such useless nonsense as Laplace Transforms, Dirac impact equations and Quantum Theory.

I was good at that shit,  first class honours degree in the biggest load of bollocks you can imagine.

Have i ever all that used any of that fancy mathematics since?

Not once.

But it did open a few doors that would have otherwise been closed to me.     I’m a great believer in education,  both formal and non-vocational.   Learning is how we move on in life.

After that initial upset and a few more hurdles along the way,  Steven now has a Masters Degree in Business Analysis and is doing really well and I’m very proud.

It was a journey,  for him and me as it is for most parents until their kids stand on their own two feet.

Heres the thing I learned,  kids don’t need calculas, maths,  whatever boring crap they will never use.

What they need is support,  guidance and direction.


Someday I hope my kids will read my  blog,  know how proud I am of them even although I often tell them,   I hope this leaves a lasting legacy of their old mans worries, concerns, pride and love for them.

Yeah there maybe some potentially embarrasing stuff,  who wants to read about thier dad talking about sex?

But their adults now and we are all human doing what humans do.

Thanks for listening,  I was off on one today!!  🙂

2 thoughts on “The Lessons in Failure 

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