Failing, Learning, & Failing Better: How to Raise Resilient Kids

“Failure is not the end of the world. [It’s the] place you get to when you figure out what to do next.” Lynn Lyons, LICSW, from the article “10 Tips for Raising Resilient Kids”

If you follow our GBC competitors, then you saw pictures of the Wieczorek kids competing in Kids’ Pan Ams in Long Beach, CA. The Wieczoreks have been dedicated students at SBG for a long time, and even though they showed up with everything they had, they didn’t bring home any wins.

If you’re a parent, what do you do with that? Your kids trained hard and tough, and they practiced with dedication. They traveled all the way to a national competition, and they didn’t win.

What kind of athlete do you want your child to be in this situation? Do you want them to quit when faced with a setback? Or do you want them to be stronger and more resilient and go on to fight another day?

What the Wieczoreks faced is something that every one of our students faces in competition. Sometimes the other person was better, and the roll doesn’t go the way you wanted it to. Sometimes you just lose.

(Mom) Angie Wieczorek said of the experience:

We brought the four boys from a small town in Montana to the big stage in California. Their two coaches flew all the way out to coach them for Pan Ams. They had some good tough matches. The outcomes weren’t what the boys wanted but they left the mat with so much more than a win! Experience, lessons, they faced fears, overcame struggles, and left a better person/jiu jitsu practitioner than they were before. If I knew the outcomes would be what they were, I still would’ve brought the boys to experience what they did today. Thank you everyone for the support, and thank you Coach Travis and Coach Gus for everything today! SBG!!! We came, we saw, we learned…next year we take over!!!! – Angie Wieczorek

Angie’s response is just the kind of support the Wieczoreks and all our competitors need when they face loses. Within those setbacks are valuable lessons that your child can learn about coming back to a challenge as a better person or a better jiu jitsu practitioner than they were before.

If we – as parents and coaches – want our children to be the kind of people who bounce back from adversity, then they need to face adversity. Being resilient means having “the ability to readily recover from adversity”. It doesn’t mean never having adversity. But we can be there for them, just as Angie was for her kids, to walk them through the lessons that they can learn from those experiences. This is how we raise resilient kids.

We watch kids go through this at every competition, and while at first it’s a tough process, it does get easier but not because they make fewer mistakes or because they fail less. It gets easier, because they learn to be better people. They learn how to face adversity and know that whatever the outcome they’ll be okay.

Of course we’re proud of our students who do win competitions. We train every student to push their boundaries, and it’s always been our mission to train the best martial artists in the country. That’s why we compete! But if you want your child to become a champion, you have to teach them to take an honest look at their weaknesses and learn from their setbacks.

And when they do win, they won’t just bring home a medal or be a champion for a day. They’ll possess the strength of character that will hold them up through all the challenges of life.

Coach Kisa