Failure is OK
We have power failures. Our strength fails us. We fail to pay our taxes. The bank fails. The crop failed. We fail to impress. We fail the math test.
Is it any wonder that we tend to want to avoid failure?
Here’s the deal. If we live so as to avoid failure we never try something new. We don’t take risks. We don’t grow in our skill and comfort levels. We become stagnant. Dull. Predictable.
Fear of failure will keep me from becoming the Best Me.
And…. Wait for it…. Fear of failure will keep my children from becoming the Best Them.
What if we never let our toddler toddle? If I always carried my toddler around because I knew they were unsteady on their feet and would surely bang their head or skin their knee? We all know that we have to let that toddler stumble around so they can learn their own sense of balance. They are actually growing stronger as they pick themselves up and keep on going across the living room floor to the joy of watching family. We make sure the path is safe- we remove the glass do-dads and the sharp cornered coffee tables. But we have to let them go. Falling and getting back up again is a gift we give that toddler.
How about that child that is learning to ride a bicycle? Painful to watch. I remember riding behind my seven year old as we rode the bike path in Franconia Notch. It was downhill and she was weaving all over the place. I was a nervous wreck watching her, but she was having the time of her life. I had to let her learn the feel of the brakes, get her balance, and understand the element of speed. She was wearing a helmet and I had band aids (which weren’t needed, by the way).
Then there is the driver’s license test. I personally failed at my first attempt when I was 16. I thought the world had surely ended. I didn’t go back to school that day as planned. I went home and moped. What could be worse than failing your drivers’ test?! The fact that I went the wrong way on a one way street during the test…. Well, if you put it that way, maybe I should have failed the test. Guess what? I practiced more. I made sure I understood how to watch out for one way street signs. Failure was an opportunity for me to gain more skill and confidence. And I did get my license the second time around. It was hard won but a major accomplishment.
Why am I talking about failure this month? Glad you asked. On October 23, from 6:30-8:00, The River Center is hosting Jessica Lahey, the author of The Gift of Failure, How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. You can register for this free event at www.rivercenter.us/register . She has a wonderful perspective on failure as a valuable element of success.
I maintain that what she has to say is beneficial to all of us no matter what stage in life. We face failure every day. The failed baking experiment. The failed drivers’ eye exam. The hot water heater failure. The failed sale. How do you deal with it in your own life? Jessica Lahey has wise perspective to share with us.
Don’t fail to show up. Tuesday, October 23, 6:30-8:00 at the Lucy Hurlin Theatre at Conval High School. Register at www.rivercenter.us. Or call The River Center Family and Community Resource Center at 924-6800 to learn more.