Some situations become almost farcical when they should be sad.
A couple called urgently for a meeting. “It is about our son”. This was not uncommon. But what followed was something that I was totally unprepared for.
“Our son failed.” That was nothing new. I waited for him to continue. Children do fail once in a while.
“How will we face our neighbours?” I was aghast. The father should be upset if his son fails. But not because how he will face his neighbour. Now what had the son’s failure got to do with the neighbours. Very often, we tend to judge ourselves by the standards set by our neighbours or relatives.
“You must be really fortunate to live with neighbours who have never failed.” I joked. But he didn’t listen.
“Their son is brilliant. He is studying in IIT”, he continued. I asked him if there were any fathers in the neighbourhood who were working in a better position than him. There were many, he assured. “When you don’t compare yourself with them, why do you compare your son with their son?”
The father was quiet. Then in a small voice he asked if it was wrong on his part to expect his son to do better.
I assured him that there was nothing wrong in it. But at the same time, there was nothing to feel ashamed of if his son failed. He should be providing him moral support.
The situation, however, sadly doesn’t end with the father. It percolates down to his children. The son is now so afraid of failing that many times he doesn’t attempt something because of the fear that he may fail.
Success and failure are a part of life. Everyone fails once in a while. I do understand the pain. But we achieve nothing by going into depression. Every failure should make us more determined to succeed.
Success doesn’t come overnight. One has to work hard to achieve it. Sometimes we may stumble. It is alright if we stumble occasionally. However failure should not become a habit.
If we learn something from failure, it is not a failure. It is just a building block for our success. The pain and the hurt should resolve us to make us stronger.
The sky won’t fall if we fail. But if we allow ourselves to wallow in guilt and sorrow and allow it to repeat, then perhaps the chances are that it may fall.
We should not allow that situation to arise.