I took 32 videos last night. I only kept one.
When we moved into our house last year one of the only real disappointments was that while, yes there was a basketball goal inside the shop, it did not lower to the level at which my children thought they could shoot the ball and make it. Much to their dismay, Collins and Cal have spent months adjusting, reaching for the basket. Collins has found her groove, being much taller and (for the time being) stronger, she began making shots with fidelity some time ago. Cal on the other hand has peered up at the goal with anticipatory excitement for almost a whole year.
Last night, that all changed. It started out just like all of the other nights. Collins and Cal dribbling and shooting, making up competitions in which they could both participate and then fight about. Collins tired of the game and went inside. Cal however, asked me to stay and watch and told me that this would be the night that he would show me he could make a basket.
I got my phone and asked him if he would like me to video. This question was met with a resounding, “yes!” followed immediately by, “then you can send it to all the family!”
I watched and recorded. At the time, we both thought I was watching to catch his moment of success when the ball actually went into the basket. After it was all over, he still thinks that’s why I watched. But, in hindsight, I can see that watching him look failure after failure boldy in the face and refuse to accept it as the end, was my real purpose in watching.
He will remember the success. How it felt to make the basket. This is important. I need him to remember the feeling of success. I need him to want to emulate that over and over again. But, what I really need is for him to remember the rest of the story.
It is imperative that he remembers the failures that came before the success. Not the specifics of the failures, but just that there were failures. Over the next few days, I will remind him of the story of the night he made the basket…but, I will highlight the parts of the story that reminded me that there is so much more to success than the moment it all comes together. As a child he naturally remembers the success, the people watching the process will remember the grit, perseverance, and overall courage it took to not give up.
After we compared some of the missed shots to his successful attempt I deleted 31 videos because they were no longer of use. We figured out that using his legs more made the ball go higher and then we got rid of any evidence that he ever missed a shot. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all do that. Erase our failures and only keep record of our success.
Unfortunately, there comes a time in life when failures start to stick. They cling to us reminding us of our weaknesses and our shame. We wear them as if we have earned them. Some people will talk about them, criticize them, and judge them as if they are our defining moments. As if our failures are all we have to offer. At times, we will accept their dialogue as truth because, let’s be honest, it is really just feeding the shame we are already feeling.
We live in a world that will tune in to watch a fall from grace. A world that doesn’t mind “cancelling” someone because they did not meet our impossible standards of perfection. There is learning that can be done from this place of failure. On the cancelled side of the “cancelling” we are able to question the scoring system of society. We can examine the flaws of this broken system and find freedom in letting go of a score that means nothing.
I am done with that. I choose to see it differently.
I refuse to judge someone based on their failure. My judgement of their failure will do nothing for them. It will also do nothing for me. Their failure will not minimize mine. I can attempt to learn from them, but it will not be in an effort to make myself feel somehow immune to that same fate. I will instead seek to understand and encourage people in the midst of their struggle. The world needs no more critics. I want to be bold enough to reach out to people in their moments of failure, and help them back up. I will show grace to people in a way that reminds them to show grace to themselves.
I refuse, as a mother, to let the success or failure of my kids define them. (or me for that matter) Instead, I will begin today creating a dialogue within them that focuses on the character it takes to overcome failure. It is in the getting back up that they are defined. I will speak of my personal failure from a place of grace and learning. I will make failure relatable and I will make overcoming failure attainable.
I refuse to give in to failure. I will be as kind to myself as I am to other people. I will change the internal dialogue that I have when I fail. Failing is the easy part, it happens all the time. Overcoming it is the part that takes real courage.
I am BOLDLY letting go of my failure. I am holding onto the learning and I am moving forward!
Come with me. Leave your failures behind you, no questions asked. Take with you only the lessons that you have learned, and the knowledge that you get to choose whether you see each failure or the success within each failure.
Please ignore the grainy-ness of this picture. We were just so excited and it was the best we got. But, close your eyes for just a moment and imagine the dancing that took place in the seconds that followed this picture.