Things I Will Tell My Children

fail 2

It’s okay to fail.  We hesitate to chase our dreams largely because we have never been given permission to mess them up.

Truth be told, we humans love our safety nets.  we spend a good chunk of time and money ensuring that everything we have is backed up, safe, secure, and insured, just in case.  In case something fails.  We love our day planners, knowing everything there is to know about tomorrow so we’re never surprised.  We want to be certain of all things in life, of reliable vehicles, full bank accounts, and whether or not she’ll say yes before making any moves.  We have somehow been conditioned to fear even the possibility of failing.

Has anybody pondered that failing is a part of life?  When we learned to walk, our first step was built upon countless failure, the adults in the room cheering us on.  Failure is smiled upon, even cute, when it comes to children.  It’s the only way we learned to walk, to talk, to eat, to keep our fingers out of fox holes.  Much of what we have learned as humans has been learned by failing first.   But somewhere along the way we get bubble wrapped by society, family, friends, skeptics, critics.  We are warned that life is too risky, stay as safe as possible.  We have become less brave than we were as children and have believed the lie that we are not allowed to make mistakes anymore.  Grown-ups are supposed to have things figured out, making all the right decisions, saying all the right words, and buying lots of useful stuff.  Failure in the adult world is seen as… well… failure.  A flaw of character.  A thing to be avoided at all costs and sternly looked down upon.  Our highest ambitions stay what they have always been; dreams; Ideas which float a little too high for comfort and remain largely untried.

I wonder.  If it was so important in shaping us then, perhaps we live mediocre lives now because we’ve stopped being okay with failing.

If we are not consistently failing somewhere at something, are we becoming anything?  We see failure as such a negative when in reality it is one of the greatest encouragers of greatness, if we’re brave enough to see it that way.

In case you’re stuck in the bubble wrap, let me offer you this freedom:  It’s okay if you try and fail.  You have my permission.  And if you should, you know, fail… pick yourself up, brush yourself off and try something different next time.  It isn’t as scary as they tell you.

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