Failing Forward

I’ve got to hand it to Willy.  He is one stubborn little ‘you know what’.


On the train back to Paris, he let me in on his grand plan.  His grand plan to earn £66 to buy the two big packs of pokemon and a pokemon tin.


He told me with such wide eyed excitement, impressive hand and arm gestures that I couldn’t help but get caught up in his passion.  He was going to make lots of paper aeroplanes and houses.  And sell them on the road outside the house.


He asked me for boxes to put them in.

He asked me how much he should sell them for.  I asked him what he thought.  He looked up to the sky, and thoughtfully answered, ‘Normal planes, 50p, Jets £1’.

I asked him if he would pay that for a paper plane.   Again, the little head cocked to the side. ‘No’.. came the answer.



Then… ‘ok – I won’t sell paper planes, I will sell my toys’.


I didn’t think of it again until yesterday (the train pulled in to York) but at 8am when he had brought all his unwanted toys to the kitchen and asked for bags to put them in so he could go and sell them outside, I realised he was actually serious.


And that is where the problems started yesterday.  The boys were in summer camp starting at 8.30… but not just that, I didn’t want my blue eyed, blond angel sitting on the roadside where I couldn’t see him!


So our battle of wills then started.  I tried delay tactics – none of the items were priced (he asked for selotape and paper), he couldn’t go outside on the road (yes he could), no one walks passed our house (yes they did), no one who would want to buy toys passes our house (how do you know?), he didn’t have a license to sell in public (he would get one)… and on we went.


I was saved by the rain yesterday.


Today, Willy refused to go to camp.  Screaming about wanting his £66!  That he wanted to sell!  That he had priced up all his toys so he would get £58 and he needed it today!


After 45 minutes of trying to peel him off me, co-erce him in to staying to play football, a run, a meditation and a lie down later, I was ready to start my day!


Only to find little angry man to pick up later still shouting about his toy stall, his £66 and his pokemon.


For 30 minutes while my car was in the car wash, we talked through the different options of making £66.  He could do jobs around our house and Granny’s and make money – the weeding, taking the bins out, doing his laundry, washing the car…




That was the only answer that came out of his little determined mouth from a red angry face.


He is nothing, if not persistent when he knows what he wants.


So I have decided, that even though he won’t listen to my advice based on experience on how and where he might want to sell his things or give him alternative ways to earn money….  He can learn through experience.  He is too little to read the brilliant John C Maxwell’s book ‘failing forward’ but I can teach him by doing and showing…


He can learn through making his own mistakes, altering his plan to take in to account those mistakes, improve, try different things… and keep going ‘til he finds something that works and works for him and he gets the results he wants for him…  I had been holding him back based on my experiences… the results I want for him…


So at 5.30pm this evening, he made shop at the end of our drive in our little lane. Laid out his toys and sat patiently.


At 6.05pm, he came in with a big smile – ‘no one came, Mum!’ and then ‘Can I have a hat?’


I asked what it was for.


‘So I can do some drumming and people can put coins in my hat’.


… so I am sat here waiting for his next tweak… because I think he may be drumming for quite a while, on our little lane that no one passes down…


And we will go back to the drawing board again!




2 thoughts on “Failing Forward

  1. I love this Ali, I am so aware that I often do a lot of ‘holding them back based on my own experiences (and fear of them failing) and what I want for them’ not what they want or the dreams/plans they have. Letting them fail forward is a hard but amazing lesson to learn as a parent! Thanks for writing this blog!

    Liked by 1 person

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