Date: Better Late Than Never
Re: Thank-You Note
Dear Past Failures:
Please accept my apologies for this belated thank-you note. I honestly had no idea how much gratitude you were due until somewhat recently. This note has been a long time coming. I am a 39- year-old-mother of young children and really had no idea how tempting it would be to try to keep you away from my kids- to protect them from failure at all costs and prevent the ensuing heartache that comes in its wake. It may seem as though I am trying to flatter you- brown nose you OUT of a visit or two. I do admit that you seem to be more tolerable in small doses. In fact, there are days when I bend over backwards, lose the grocery list and my mind, miss important work calls, and rearrange life’s most minute details to make sure you don’t get near my kids. It has taken me this many years to understand how much you have taught me. In my heart of hearts, I know that protecting my kids from mistakes and failures will only deny them the chance to experience the same hardwon lessons. It has taken me years to understand what an invaluable teacher you were (and are) for me and that you will also be an important teacher for my kids- if only I will allow it. I do ask this of you though. Please be kind to my kids and show me how to use you as an instrument for building their character and confidence. It takes courage to be a kid today. Whether being the new kid at school, putting on shin guards for the first soccer game or walking away from peer pressure. Kids face many new frontiers on a near daily basis. If they are never allowed to fail, how will they come to know and believe that they can knock the dirt off their shoulder and try again? Kids don’t necessarily develop confidence and resilience because their parents tell them that they are great (although isn’t that nice to hear from time to time?). They become can-do’ers and try-again’ers because they are encouraged to take on new challenges and given a safe place to land when they fall (or fail). For each achievement big or small- brushing teeth, getting a new Boy Scout badge, sticking up to a bully, or being the MVP- confidence grows. It grows from a place that is not rooted in entitlement, but in faith that failure is not the end of the line. Failure is simply a push-up in the parking lot before trying again. So, Failure, I leave you with this. Thank you. Be kind. Come gently. I am leaving the door open. Teach my children as well as you have taught me.
P.S. Leave Band-aids by the door- a few for the knees and a few for the heart.
Warmly, Mom of the Band