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Our Children Need To See Us Fail


I had a bit of a revelation this week. It is in reference to an experience I had deer hunting with my son, Carter

This week, we are in the middle of the firearms portion of deer hunting in Missouri. I am not an avid hunter. However, my boys want to hunt and I love to enjoy things with them… so we have spent a lot of time hunting together.

This weekend was abysmal for hunting. None of us saw a single deer. So yesterday when I got off work, Carter and I went off to the woods to hunt for the little bit of daylight remaining in the day. We sat on the edge of the woods where we have seen countless deer before. Much like our outings the previous days, we saw nothing.

We decided that we would leave our spot a little early to see if we would see any deer on the way back home. Well much to our delight, we spotted a small group of deer about 200 yards away. We thought we would try to get the jump on them and sneak behind some brush piles to get within range. Much to my surprise, our approach actually worked and we did not spook the deer. I positioned myself for a shot… about 80 yards away. I pulled the trigger and… I missed.

The deer took off to the woods behind them to be safe for another night.

I initially took this very hard. I hated that my son, who looks up to me so much, had to see me fail. I didn’t want to let him down and have his image of his dad be tarnished.

But this is the wrong mindset to have in this situation. See I think we do our kids a disservice when we shield them from our failures. We give them this idyllic view of what being an adult looks like and gives them unrealistic expectations when they get to that point.

I rarely saw my dad fail. As a result, I had a lot of struggles once I reached adulthood because things didn’t come as easily for me as I had anticipated. I thought there was something wrong with me. It wasn’t until very recently that I realized that to struggle is to be human. That we all have our own crosses to bear and there is no shame in having those struggles.

So as disappointed as I am that I missed that deer last night, I am actually happy for the teaching moment it manifested. That I “failed” and one of my kids was there to witness. Even though I didn’t accomplish the objective, it doesn’t mean we won’t go back out there and try again. Even more important than that, I will sacrifice other things to spend time with my boys doing something they love.

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