NEEDED: Tales of Your Youthful Fails! (Or Your Kids’!)

Hi Readers! I’m preparing a new speech — as opposed to my beloved tried and true one — which I’ll be giving it from noon to 2 on Saturday, June 4, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It’ll also be filmed for my show. (Address: The Old First Reform Church, 778 Carroll St. Directions here. If you want to, feel free to RSVP to, but it’s not required.) Anyway, what I realized I could use are some stories of great childhood failures.

By that I mean, stories from your youth when you goofed something up — and ended up being  glad of that in the long run. I’m also interested in stories like that from your kids’ lives.

These days we are so focused on preventing our children from feeling disappointed, sad, or defeated that we sometimes forget that one way for them to grow that protective coat of self-confidence is BY letting them fail.  It’s the old “fall off the bike and get back on” thing: If you never fall, you never learn that  you can get yourself back on again. In fact, falling — failing — starts to loom larger than ever.

So think back and tell us some tails of your fails. And as failing is looming large to me at the moment (Gotta give a NEW speech! AND it’s being filmed! Gulp!) , thank you very much for your help. — Lenore

Hey Kids (and Parents) Don’t Forget to Fail!

Hi Readers — Those of you who have read my book know there’s a chapter called, “Fail! It’s the New Succeed!” The idea being that when we let kids fail, they learn that it’s not the end of the world and this is a great lesson, even though it’s very painful (for parents. And kids, too, I guess.)

So here’s a fantastic Wall Street Journal column by Sue Shellenbarger timed to coincide with all the rejection letters high school seniors are currently receiving from the colleges of their choice. Warren Buffet, Meredith Vieria, Tom Brokaw — they all had their hearts and egos broken by schools that said, “Nay.”  So did Ted Turner. Harold Varmus was turned down by Harvard Med School twice. That was, of course, before the pathetic reject went on to win the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

The whole piece is great reading for any parent or kid wondering if the world has indeed come to an end. Great reading for me, too, who was turned down by that stupid, stuck-up school in Cambridge, Mass. The same one that also turned down Warren Buffet, who went on to give $12 million to the school that DID take him (Columbia). Life goes on. Revenge is sweet.  — Lenore

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