I fear failure. Parenting has been a process of learning to face failure. There are all these expectations society and well meaning family and friends place on parents. Then, there’s my own ideals of what kind of parent I want to be, providing more room for me to fail.
The funny thing about trying to sort out my fear of failure is teaching my kids to keep on trying when they fail. When our son was learning to dress himself or put a puzzle together, he’d get really frustrated and want to give up. Somewhere between learning to walk and age 3 he picked up the idea that failure = bad. So, my husband and I started to encourage him with phrases like, “Everyone makes mistakes.” or “Try again, I know you can do it.” Or, I’d actually remind him that he learned to walk after falling down all the time. Then, one day I let out a vocal cry at a mistake I made, and my son looked at me and shrugged, “It’s Ok. Mistakes happen every day in my life.”
I keep on reminding myself of that truth, the idea that failure is a part of success, but it still stands in my way of doing what I want sometimes. Parenting is a consistent reminder that I need to live my own advice. Our son has been writing up plans for going to the Moon “when he is a Big Man with Dad” – they are going to put not one, but two American Flags on it. Instead of telling him this is a silly or nearly impossible idea, we listen to his plans and explain that he’s got to work hard to get there someday.
As you may have already seen around here, I love photography. I love looking at it, taking my own and talking about it. One dream I’ve had for a few years now is to do a coffee shop Photography Show here in Seattle. It might not sound like going to the Moon, but it felt that way to me. I just didn’t think my photography was that good. But, I decided to try to book a show within the year. And I did! It will be at one of my favorite places, Coffee To A Tea With Sugar. My first show will be in January 2012. At first I was super excited that the lady liked my work. But when that started to wear off like a sugar high, I felt disappointed about the fact that the show is that far off. The reality is that the timing is perfect. It allows me time to really get things figured out (like archival printing service, matting, etc). And I can push myself to do more photography.
What fear is holding you back?