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Planned Failure-Learning From Mistakes

Planned Failure: They Missed A Pool Day.
The Day No One Went Swimming.

Failure is a bad word–or is it?

Did you ever stop to think that God already planned for our failures? He knows we aren’t perfect.

What is a planned failure? It is when God lets us make mistakes, learn from them and grow through them. He loves us through the whole process and gives us mass quantities of mercy. It’s why He sent Jesus.

Planned Failures and Homeschooling

When our children were young, they took swimming lessons in the winter at our local YMCA. It seemed like we were always stressing, fussing and running late on swim days. Even though I told them to be ready and they knew what to do to be ready to walk out the door:

  • We were always late
  • Got the worst parking place
  • Had the last lockers
  • And missed part of the lesson

Then it occurred to me that it was OK for them to miss a lesson because they weren’t ready on time. So I did the unthinkable! I set them up to fail–planned failure.

Planned Failure Week 1: The Bad

In the midst of running late in week 1, I informed them that if we were late the next week, we would stay home. I reminded them the day before the next lesson. I knew they would mess up and not be ready.

Planned Failure Week 2: The Ugly

It wasn’t a pretty sight. Oh, you should have seen it. There was weeping and wailing.

I felt so bad, but I knew the pattern had to change. Our children needed to learn to be “responsible citizens of the universe.”

Planned Failure Week 3: The Good

Success!!! The next week (and most of the times after that), our children helped each other get ready EARLY for the swimming lesson. I didn’t have to nag, help them find towels or swimsuits,  or get the diaper bag ready for the baby! They were in the van before I knew.

Was It Worth Doing?

Yes! I don’t like watching our children fail at anything, but missing one swimming lesson was a “life lesson” for them.

Be merciful when they fail. I want God to be merciful to me when I stumble, so I need to be merciful when those under my supervision stumble.


BJU Press Homeschool Kits K-12.

BJU Press Curriculum
Grades K-12

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