Tuesday, January 5, 2010

failure


Can you see the little bird on my dining room chair?  He flew in the house this summer and I completely panicked in front of my nephew and my own two kids.  I was so terrified when he flew the wrong way, back through the living room, into the kitchen, nowhere near the open doorway.  Why was I so scared?  I didn't believe that he would figure it our before the worst happened.  I had no confidence in the bird's abilities to find the exit.

At a school meeting tonight, I was reminded of this bird.  (Does is seem like everything in my life relates to wildlife recently?)  We were talking about the benefits of giving kids praise for hard work, mistakes and earnest efforts rather than for being quick, smart and perfect.  One theory is that this kind of praise allows children to find all their talents, even those that are not obvious on the first or second try.  And it gives them the reassurance that their truest ability is within their control.  They determine how hard they try, regardless of any innate gifts.

I think I'm kind of guilty of praising quick brilliance.  That bird found its way out of the house, but not because of its perfect sense of navigation.  It tried and it failed.  So here's to failure, which is one step closer to a success.

No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.  -Samuel Beckett

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