Tuesday, February 16, 2010

F- words: Fun and Fear and Failing

That word can leave us quaking sometimes, can't it?
Or can it?
I guess it depends on what 'failure' means?
I like that quote by Albert Einstein, "Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid."
Failure can leaves us feeling stupid if it is measured in the terms that Albert Einstein is talking about.
Or we can approach it with a sense that failure is akin to Thomas Edison rebuttal to the comment that he had failed 10 000 times trying to make a light bulb. His elegant answer was, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
When failure is approached this way, fear is replaced with fun and adventure to be embarked upon.

Point in case, today's mediated moment:
My daughter was making a telephone between two plastic cups.
There was a lot of fun mediation that came as she tried to figure out how to make it. I asked questions the whole time and she surprised me with some of her answers. (Yay Mom for asking questions and no telling!!)
Her first attempt failed and she declared it impossible and that her intelligence was 'none too bright.'
It was time to have a little chat about failure and how it is a part of learning. (Intentionality and Reciprocity).
I shared with her the Thomas Edison quote and then bridged by asking, "How many lightbulbs does our town use?"
"Right, and how do they help us?"
"We can see, it's safer for everyone, we can stay up later and have light."
"Do you think we could have all the benefits of the lightbulb if Thomas Edison decided that failing made him stupid and that it was just impossible to do anything?" (meaning)
"I have an idea. (Optimistic Alternative). Why don't we see how many times we can fail at making these plastic cup phones until we are successful. What do you think?"
"I think we could do that."
"Me too."

Fear turned to fun where failing is concerned: Fantastic!

Criteria Focus: Optimistic Alternative

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