Truth: Having children has done so much for me. Mostly it has made me more human. No child should ever be disregarded as insignificant. They are significant because they are children, and children possess qualities that make each and every individual one greatly significant. If you want to read my Quality #1: They love us, you can find it here.
#2: Children are great at failing.
The younger, the better. They fail all the time. When they learn to eat, walk, talk, write, you name it. They are constantly failing, and unless someone convinces them that they should be ashamed, they aren't.
A few months ago, Brooke came to me and explained that when she draws something, its okay to mess up because she can always make it into something else. So when it was time to make a poster for Trunks of Treats, the theme being scary scene with spider webs and such, she ended up with a submarine in the middle of it.
This caused instant outrage from her sisters. They were convinced she deliberately ruined their artwork. In tears, she came to me and said, "I was trying to paint a spider, but it didn't work so I made it into a submarine!"
Seriously. Who can't love that rationale? Well, at least this mother does. Not so much her sisters. Anyway, we got over it and she has not stopped drawing and painting.
And I hope she doesn't. I am scared to think of what my fear of failure has discouraged.
Cheerlead. Encourage. Defend if needed. For goodness sakes, don't be perfect. Fail with them. Teach them about the great people who failed. Praise them for learning something when they've failed. Give them grace, be patient, not critical. Teach them to laugh at themselves but don't push it to humiliation. Correct them without insult. Problem solve with them. Celebrate successes, no matter how small. Let them be good failures.