Think you’ve failed? Think again (or ask an 8-year-old)

One day I overheard this conversation between my eight year old and her best friend, Rachel. They were talking about a friend of theirs who was learning how to skate.

Rachel said, “And then she let go of the rail and teetered and started to fall…”

My daughter said breathlessly, “Did she catch herself?”

Rachel said thoughtfully, “Yes, she caught herself, but her rump was on the ground when she did.”

Apparently, in kidville, even in the midst of abject failure, humiliation (and possibly a chipped tailbone) there’s still room to say, “Woohoo! Good job! You turned it around just in time!”

I want to be eight again. Except maybe taller. And with all my adult teeth. And I’d be ever so grateful if I could keep my drivers license and credit cards.

And my kids. I wouldn’t want to give them up either.

Now that I think about it, the only thing I’d like to reclaim from those years is a childlike perspective that lets me see magic in the mundane, possibilities around every corner, and cause for celebration even in the midst of what looks strangely like failure.

You accumulate a few birthdays, get a degree, get a job, suffer through a few of life’s not-so-fairy-tale endings, spend a few hundred hours on a therapist’s couch, pay a few mortgages, raise a couple kids and buy your first bottle of Rogaine and you start to think you’re all grown up.

Now wouldn’t that be a crying shame.

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