The older I get, the more I have come to realize that going through the process and consequences of failure is imperative for the formation of my faith and strength as a man, husband, father, and disciple of Jesus.   Failure is not just necessary; it’s critical.  In each family seminar I do nowadays, I make a conscientious point to encourage parents to raise strong children who know how to fail in life.  My statement is, “We are trying to raise our children to be good failures.”  Canadian psychologist and author Jordan Peterson continually asks the question, “Do you want to make your children safe or strong?”  For our children, we have chosen strength.  And as much as I hate saying it, failures, disappointments, hardships, and trials are the catalyst to that strength.

As our family sat last month in a large Memphis, Tennessee auditorium full of enthusiastic parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends for the 2024 Spring Commencement of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (our son-in-law earned his Doctor of Medicine) and Randy Boyd (president of the university) stood up to do a short charge to these new doctors.  After a few moments of pleasantries, he delivered his first point to the 170 graduating students of medicine, and I will never forget what he started with:

“Go Forth and Fail.”

I caught myself saying “Amen!” like we were in church.  Let that four-word statement sink in. “Go forth and fail.”  It totally flies in the face of the “self-esteem movement” of the 60’s-70’s that pushed parents to feed nothing but positivity to their kids while doing everything possible to keep them from failing, coming in 2ndplace or making a mistake (and taking the blame) all for the sake of their fragile emotions and unsure futures.

The trap comes when we think we are blessing our kids by making things easy.  It’s just not true.  We learn from mistakes.  Failures sharpen us.  Losing something makes us appreciate more.  Disappointments are a reality of life… no one is immune.

I hear so many parents say, “I just want my kids to have all the things I didn’t have growing up…. I want them to have a better life.”  Ease, comfort, and getting something for nothing is not going to give them that better life.  There is extreme danger in this thinking.  When a young person does not have to figure out how to get back up, shake off the dust, use his resources, trust in the Lord, try again, take a different route, work harder or pray more about it; then he will stay weak, and likely just give up altogether when things get really rough.

God has created us to grow from failure.  He wants us to trust in Him and learn to wait on Him.  He wants us to accept that life without Him is no life at all.  He wants us to recognize this: the source of strength to get back up and keep going comes from Him alone.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

We don’t do a whole lot of ‘trusting’ when things simply go our way or opportunities, wealth and circumstances are “handed” to us.

Moses had a relationship with failure. Moses was a great leader.  But not because he did the right things.  It was because he failed.  Moses spent the first 40 years of his life as a powerful man (Acts 7:22) and then the next 40 years in a wilderness trying to figure things out as a failure.  Then, at 80, his weakness was turned to strength because he decided to listen and trust in the Lord.  His weakness was a catalyst for the strength of the Lord.

David had a relationship with failure.  David was a great leader. But not because he did the right things.  It was because he failed.  David abused his power and committed a heinous sexual sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), which led to dire consequences.  Yet, David continued to make things right with God and is called “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) as well as a hero of faith (Hebrews 11:32).

What do I need to learn to raise good failures in my home?


Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”

The race we are in is hard and agonizing at times. But learning to fail and going through difficulties lead to something that’s advantageous for the child of God who wants to be a light in a very dark world.  When one decides to praise God during the failure or trial, the testing of his faith produces endurance.

Endurance requires grit, determination, fortitude, and finishing power.  That does not come through ease, being rescued from mistakes, laziness, and sitting on the couch scrolling Instagram.  It is gained by keeping our eyes on the prize and pushing through.  When life gets hard, do it hard.  We don’t stop looking back or graying about how unfair life is.  Life is always unfair for everyone.  Your child will be strong by realizing where the strength really comes from and accepting the failure, not by rejecting the failure.

James 1:2-3 says it like this: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

Here’s the good part.  When I keep my focus on Jesus and choose to endure, growth comes!  Verse four of James 1 goes on to say, “And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Endurance matures us.  It makes us complete.  It teaches us that the Lord’s strength is all I need and that I can face any failure, hardship, or disappointment that comes my way.

Notice the outcomes of rejecting versus enduring.

Rejecting my failures:

  • Encourages laziness.
  • Produces unhealthy fear.
  • Paralyzes faith.
  • Destroys relationships.
  • Increases regret.
  • Yields anxiety.
  • Creates self-dependence.

Enduring my failures:

  • Increases my strength.
  • Grows my faith.
  • Produces resilience.
  • Sharpens my spiritual focus.
  • Helps me wait.
  • Increases humility.
  • Shows me God’s grace.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the opportunity and room to fail.  Teach them and show them that failure produces strength, maturity, and reliance on Jehovah God.

And remember:

“If we endure, we will also reign with Him…” (2 Timothy 2:12).


Steve Minor
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Steve was born in Hollis, OK.  Steve graduated from Oklahoma Christian with a degree in Youth Ministry in 1998.  OC is where Steve met the love of his life, Stephani Jimenez, and married in 1996.  The Lord gave them three amazing children: Micah (husband, Joel Turner), Mason, and Makenna.

Steve & Stephani have worked for congregations in Texas and Oklahoma.  Steve is the founder and director of Legacy Family Camp each October to equip and strengthen families and the MIGHTY Men’s Mentoring Conference each January to train and strengthen men to be leaders.

Steve is the preaching minister for the Wylie Church of Christ in Wylie, Texas.