Pastor’s Prayer for Graduates: FAIL!

Hi Readers — We’ve been spending today thinking about what it would mean to be the youngest person to sail solo around the world. In other words, about great success and whether it is worth the peril. Here’s a nice sermon from a pastor named John F. Hudson in Sherborn, Mass., about the value of the opposite: failure. Since I have a whole chapter in my book called, “Fail! It’s The New ‘Succeed!” it naturally appealed to me.

Main points? Defeats and detours can take us to the best places. Life isn’t meant to be a straight line anyway.  And the greatest lesson our kids can learn is that when they do fail, it’s not the end. All they have to do is try, try again.

(Unless they’re in the middle of the ocean. But that’s another blog post.) — Lenore

8 Responses

  1. J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame articulated many of the same ideas as Hudson in her commencement address at Harvard last year, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.”

    http://harvardmagazine.com/commencement/the-fringe-benefits-failure-the-importance-imagination

    There are many great quotes; here is one of my favorites: “You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.”

  2. Amen. Failure is part of life. I we don’t let our children fail when they are with us they will surely fail when they are on their own with no one to help them through. Success is earned through failure not quarenteed to us because we are protected and sheilded from life.

  3. Embracing and welcoming failure as one’s omnipresent companion and teacher of humility and resilience may be exquisitely complemented by a similar, continuing embrace of one’s mortality.

    Don’t fear “The Grim Reaper.” Put your arm around his shoulder (being careful to avoid the sharp blade of his scythe) , walk with him, chat him up.

    It is not morbid to walk and talk with the “Grim Reaper.” Rather it is instructive, wise and inspirational to be aware of his omnipresence, as well as failure’s, as we set about the daily task of being fully alive, vital and loving.
    Dance now!
    Carleton Kendrick

  4. “I we don’t let our children fail when they are with us they will surely fail when they are on their own with no one to help them through.”

    Oh, so true. My parents sheltered me so much that I quickly fell flat on my face. Not that it is entirely their fault, but I definitely fell into some life traps that I probably wouldn’t have had I been at all prepared for them. I am still trying to get past it all. It sucks.

  5. What a fantastic sermon. This is where I owe my parents greatly. They let me fail but were there to pick me up every time and help me to ascertain ways to learn and move on. What a gift it was to learn this at an early age.

    I am not afraid to see my children fail but I am terrifed that some small failure will make them give up.

  6. This is a wonderful message. Hopefully the parents of those graduates take heed as well.

  7. What a great speech, and every word is true! I sent the link to my friends who are starting their first year as teachers. The learning curve is steep, but with each failure come great rewards and lessons. Thanks for posting this!

  8. Just hope it isn’t too late for those high school grads to internalize the message. Reminds me of this 2007 piece on the peril of praise: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/ and how we undermine our kids’ ability to keep at it through failure because they are so hepped up on goof balls of our constant praise for being brilliant and gifted and lake wobegone above average

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