Monday, April 14, 2014


Failure is not an option. This is a sentence I’ve told myself many times. My earlier blog here on April 4th talked about the fact that success is something I don’t automatically feel. Failure, however, isn’t allowed.

Yeah, you’re starting to see the stress I create for myself.

This notion of failure not being acceptable started way back in the day when I was a student in elementary school. Anything less than a B was cause for frowny faces. My parents had high expectations and I thank them for that. As a teacher today, I see way too many instances of children not being pushed to reach the next rung on the ladder of their lives. I see students—and families—who settle for “good enough.” I don’t know for sure which parenting school of thought is best, but anything that emphasizes personal motivation has to be good, right?
I remember living for coming home with a test or report card and nearly bouncing with anticipation as my mother looked it over. When she reached for a magnet and displayed my work on the refrigerator for all the world to see (well, technically we didn’t have that many guests in our kitchen, but whatever), it was as if she’d called up CNN and had them broadcast it to the entire globe that I was a good speller. That I knew how to add and subtract. That I could color pictures like some fancy French artist. That I understood everything there was to understand (from a fifth grader’s perspective) about North American landforms.

I was smart. I was not a failure.

My teacher said so with the big red 100% or A+ she put on my papers. My mother said so when she slapped my work up onto the refrigerator. My friends said so when they wanted to copy off me. Wait… forget that last one. It’s so scene-in-a-John Hughes-movie, isn’t it?
Not accepting failure forces you to go the extra mile, put in the extra hours, stick it out just a little longer. Failure, when it does happen, also shows you what to do next time, and let’s face it, for most things in life, you can always find that “next time.”
You have the power to make it happen. Put on your best lip gloss and don’t take no for an answer.

What’s something you’ve had to try to do a few times before you reached the level you wanted?




Leah St. James said...

Good thoughts, Christine. We all need motivation, and we all need to understand that success requires hard work first, like studying for that spelling test. It's human nature to try to take the easiest path (i.e., less work), but those missteps along the way (I won't call them failures) help to show us what still needs work. I've rarely been successful my first try at anything. Trying to duplicate my husband's grandmother's special holiday recipes took maybe 20 years before I got them down, for example. :-)

Jannine Gallant said...

It's tough with kids--to push them to do their best but not to the breaking point. For my older daughter, failure is anything less than an A+. Not in my mind--in hers. For my younger daughter, I consider it a success when she gets all her assignments turned in on time! Mostly my efforts to promote success are labeled nagging by everyone involved. Still, I don't let them stop trying, and I don't stop either. Especially with book promo. Ugh. If one method is a failure, I try something else. You have to keep pushing the limits if you want to succeed.

Alicia Dean said...

I'm afraid I've had to accept that failure IS an option in my life, but not trying again is not an option, if that makes sense. I can't really think of anything that I've tried a few times until I was satisfied I'd mastered it. I feel I'm continually needing improvement in every area of my life. :)

Margo Hoornstra said...

Put on your best lip gloss and don't take no for an answer. Thanks, Chris. These are my new words to live by. I'm like Alicia. Always striving, always growing. As far as children, having raised four, I can attest to the fact each one is unique, but we always had better results when we pulled them rather than pushed.

Betsy Ashton said...

We will all face failure throughout our lives. What we should learn is how to survive failure well. Not just survive, but survive well, thrive, never let the bastards get us down. We can all do it.