Falling Upward: Making Mistakes - A Crucial Part of Life's Journey

There is much to admire and celebrate throughout the course of a school year. In the course of a school year our boys learn many things, not just in the classroom, but through their co-curricular programmes and their interactions with each other.

Learning doesn't always mean experiencing success. Many of the great lessons in life result from making mistakes, experiencing disappointment and facing unexpected challenges. Richard Rohr in his book Falling Upward (2012, p28, p31) addresses how important it is that we are allowed to make mistakes and in fact it is a crucial part of our development. He makes an important point for all of us in addressing why 'falling' as he refers to is so important.

'We are parts of social and family ecosystems that are rightly structured to keep us from falling but also, more Important, to show us how to fall and how to learn from that very falling. We are not helping our children by always preventing them from what might be necessary falling, because you learn how to recover from falling by falling. It is precisely by falling off the bike many times that you eventually learn what balance feels like. People who have never allowed themselves to fall are actually off balance, while not realising it at all.

If you want a job done well, on time, with accountability and no excuses, you had best hire someone who has faced a few limit situations. He or she alone has the discipline, the punctuality, the positive self-image, and the persistence to do a good job. If you want the opposite, hire someone who has been coddled and been given 'I Am Special' buttons for doing nothing special.'

What does this mean for building resilience in our boys? The answer is simple. We all have to ensure that our boys learn to deal with success and failure. Rescuing them from challenging situations is not always the best answer. Allowing boys to seek their own solutions to problems is healthy. Students must have the courage to lead from where they are now.

They should not look to blame others for things that may not work out as planned; they need to take control of their own destiny. As the Year 12s leave the confines and safety that a college such as Scotch provides, they must not define themselves via a lifetime of excuses, they must become the architects of their own destiny.