Why don’t we let them fail? Why do we pretend that our kids aren’t human? Why do we try to protect them from the struggle? The truth is we all fail, we all struggle, and we are all human. Pretending like we are anything else makes the fall even harder when it inevitably happens.
If we love them (our players, our children, or anyone else), we acknowledge their humanity. We tell them that they are going to fail. We tell them to do the best they can and then learn from their mistakes. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about controlling what they can control and learning how to handle adversity. It’s about being as self-aware as they can and then chasing what they want as passionately as they can. SELF-AWARE. Not us telling them all the time; but them evaluating themselves and figuring out where they are, not just in basketball, but in life.
I don’t mean we let them get in legal trouble. But is failing a class or failing a test really the end of the world? Not that we encourage it. But until they understand that there are consequences for their decisions, what are we really teaching them? We aren’t teaching them to think for themselves. People have to be able to think for themselves.
Failing whether it’s in school, sports, or anything, isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it might be the beginning of the path to greatness. It doesn’t mean they are a terrible person, student, or athlete. It doesn’t mean we don’t love them. In fact, it means we really love them, because we let them experience the reality of life.
I’m not encouraging anyone to let your kids commit crimes. There’s a difference in failing and breaking the rules. Failing is not mistreating others. Failing is not committing a crime. That’s different. Ask them what they want. Help them understand what it’s going to take. And then let them fail or succeed when they try.