We should all have at least one great story to tell, and it is the story of our life. And if we want to make ours worth a read, it must have certain elements.
A good story has a theme that helps the reader learn something about his own life through the penned words of the writer. All memorable stories have a character that struggles with internal feelings or needs or a conflict which may or may not be a result of his own doing. The important part of the plot is the character must win or lose at least partially by his own initiative and choices as opposed to being rescued.
Why am I sharing the structure of a great story? Because we’ve entered a time when failure isn’t a socially acceptable option, and parents will go to great lengths with their time, money, and excuses to ensure their children don’t fail. In my opinion, these parents are robbing their children of a full life—experiences of personal growth and the telling of a good life story.
To ensure we’re talking the same language, let’s define failure. Failure can be driving hard for something never achieved or never working hard enough to achieve anything of personal significance. Failure can be not having the right priorities and living with the outcome. In the worse scenarios, failure can mean choosing selfish behaviors that result in harm to others. You may have other definitions, but these capture some common ones.
Who doesn’t like a good story where somebody struggles and overcomes failure or a series of failures? I don’t know one good story where someone has been rescued when he should have rescued himself. Parents should allow their children to (1) live with the consequences of their choices and (2) live their own life and not the plan parents dream for their children.
My encouragement to parents is to suspend any helicoptering parenting that clears obstacles in the path of their children or rescues them from their poor choices. Instead, pray for your children as you let them fail while they figure out life, and with faith you will likely see them flourish as they learn first-hand from their mistakes. Perhaps their story will be so compelling, it will find its way onto the New York Times best selling non-fiction list.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.