Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Failing with Style

Creative Connections
from Lauri Griffin

Have you seen the "Meet the Robinsons" movie? What struck me most was how failure was celebrated. In the movie, Lewis is a young orphaned boy. He's also an inventor, albeit a relatively unsuccessful and discouraged one. (People tend to cower and run when he turns his machines on). When he time travels into the future he spends time with a wonderful, eccentric, and creative family. He tries to fix their automatic peanut butter and jelly spreader, but instead of repairing it, he makes it explode. Think blobs of peanut butter and globs of jelly covering the dining room and everyone in it. Lewis starts to apologize, but is interrupted by cheers. People raise their glasses and toast his failure with comments about how completely and messily he failed. They saw failure as a step, not something to apologize for, or be ashamed about.

And failure can be a step to success, or maybe to revision, or maybe to something we can't see or imagine until we go through that mess. We don't usually applaud our failures though. We brush them under something, hide them away, hope no one noticed or saw. I think it's part of our instant culture that we expect instant results, instant success. So here's to failure, to effort, to another try, and to wherever it takes you.

Lauri Griffin is a published short story writer who is currently revising some longer works. She holds degrees in educational psychology and gifted education. She writes for a parenting website and is the instructional coordinator for a a literacy program. Lauri is fascinated by the many different ways our brains learn, and by the creative process. Visit Lauri's Reflections, for more thoughts on creativity, writing, lifelong learning, and parenting.


Lloyd Lemons said...

We learn so much more from failure than we do from success. "Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly." - Robert Kennedy

Lauri said...

That's a great quote, Lloyd. Thanks for sharing it.

Laura L said...

I really loved that aspect of the movie too. Maybe I should rent it again for my boys.