During the holidays, I arranged a trapeze lesson for my three children and a niece. Last minute, my niece couldn’t take the lesson so I reluctantly took her place. I climbed up a vertical steel ladder about fifty feet to a small platform. Even with the harness, it was scary to grasp the trapeze bar with both hands and step off. I was suppose to lift my legs at the end of the swing and hook them over the trapeze bar and hang upside down. Instead, I flew off the trapeze bar like a superhero into the net below. I was so embarrassed because my children, my husband, my in-laws and about 20 strangers were watching. I wondered if I had the upper body strength to keep hanging on a trapeze bar at all. For a split second, I was wondering, “Should I even attempt another swing?”
The instructors showed me on video what I did wrong and suggested positioning my legs differently. When my turn came around, I decided to try again because it was a “teaching moment”. We always taught our kids that we never give up and failure is an opportunity to learn. This is where the rubber meets the road. The second climb was actually more scary than the first. I wasn’t sure if I can step off again. I did it and hung on to the trapeze bar for dear life. It was exhilarating to swing like a pendulum. That was the best experience on our whole vacation – even if I had to walk around with a bruised face!
There is an excellent article on “The Benefits of Failure” by Madeleine Burry: http://www.nymetroparents.com/article/teach-children-how-to-cope-with-failure
I also recommend this 6-minute video by psychologist, Angela Lee Duckworth, on her research of how GRIT is connected to success in life.