Thursday, January 28, 2010
Sometimes, we all fail
Years ago, when I was just a teenager, I had the opportunity to babysit for a family who had never left their small daughter with anyone that was not family. I had a lot of experience with kids, and, frankly, I loved them, (and still do!). I was given a very valuable lesson from this sweet (and very smart) little girl.
I was caring for this child whose mother and father had gone on their first overnight trip by themselves. The mother was very worried about leaving her little girl, and knew me from neighbors and church, so I was given the opportunity to babysit. The day started off fine. We played, we watched cartoons, and we took a nap. But as the day grew darker, this little child became more and more upset. I cuddled and soothed her, I tried music, I tried to read a story, I tried holding her, but nothing helped. She wanted her mother.
Her whimpers became sobs which turned into full-blown (and very loud) crying and I, upset at the prospect of failing my responsibilty so completely, began to try and rock and shush her. Obviously, this didn’t help, but I was determined to get everything under control and make her parents happy.
So I kept on. The harder she cried, the more I shushed, until this little child completely astounded me by pausing right in the middle of her crying fit, looked me straight in the eye, and screamed at me, "Don't you know? It is OK to cry! That is what my mom says! I can cry if I want to! And now, I want to cry!" And she did!
I was speechless. Of course it’s OK to cry, especially when you are a little girl and you miss your mom! Who was I to insist this child "shush", when, clearly, it was not what she needed to do? Who was I to determine success or failure based on the simple fact that she needed to cry?
She knew something that I did not know until many years later. Sometimes, we all need to cry! That little child had her very loud, night-time cry. When she finished, she went to sleep in my arms, and was so happy when her mom came home the next day. And do you know the best part? She wanted me to babysit again!
Sometimes, we have a bad day, or a week, or even a year. But that period of time does not determine whether we are a success or a failure. It is just a tough period of time and we will get through it!
Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times before he invented the electric light bulb. When asked about his failures, he stated,
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down." ~ Mary Pickford
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Confucius 551 - 479 B.C.