Step Up: Failing Successfully

take a step up



Every year in our country Barbados there is an examination which holds the destiny of all children in its clutches. Some say it separates the “sheep” from the “goats” and the “haves” from the “have nots”. There we go again: labelling our children. This third in the four part series of labelling has been set aside to coincide with the recently concluded Common Entrance Examination. As soon as we see these children who are about 11 years old, we size them up according to their academic abilities or disabilities.

“That child is sleeping in the exam…you know what school they are going to…

That little one has wonderful handwriting and excellent use of grammar. They will go to a good school.

That one over there wouldn’t stop playing with the (insert stationery example here).

This child speaks well and has good behaviour.”

We are all guilty of it. All children are born with potential. God has given us these blank canvases upon which we can imprint morals and values that will condition and shape their lives. Many books have been written on the differences of children, from the gender, their learning styles and of course how to train them to behave. This article is not interested in the many findings but only interested in generating the awareness of how we label our children and the influence that has on their lives.

How we tap into the potential of a child will be determined by the strengths which God has fashioned into each and everyone of them. Of course we cannot reach that potential without the guidance of the Almighty who will determine the course of action which we as adults must take. For He has entrusted His children into our care. We must nurture their strengths in the varied intelligences of words, numeracy, athletic and nature just to name a few. These intelligences are as diversified as the children who possess them.


Children misbehave for it was taught to be acceptable. Wherever they learnt it is not as important as how we must deal with it. Blame on parents, teachers or institutions has no place in this forum. Yet what must be addressed is the lack of consistency and security in these children’s lives and how what measures we must take to combat it. Society labels a child who is bad behaved as being unsettled and disruptive. Yet the question remains: why? We need to tap into that potential again. That God given potential is the key to progress and eventual success. These labels should not define these children. These labels should not be the stumbling blocks that frustrate the education process.



As adults we have the power to encourage our children to push past these diminutive labels. We should encourage them to use these labels as stepping stones to fulfil an even better prophecy than the one we envision and achieve the divine plans in store for them which were better than one can ever imagine. So that child sleeping in the examination can wake up and know that no matter how they perform, God will always be by their side. That little one who would not stop playing with the stationery will in turn use their imagination to innovate their dreams and invent something that will benefit us all. There are five morals of the story of the Donkey and the Well.

  1. Free your heart from hatred
  2. Free your mind from worries
  3. Live simply
  4. Give more
  5. Expect less

All of us aspire to greatness that is within. We have to work hard and make the necessary sacrifices to be aptly rewarded in the end. That is the purpose of life. That is our self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s how we shake it off and step up.


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