Friday, April 27, 2012

Experience is the Best Teacher; Failure paves the way to Success

Instructors and teachers are wonderful. I have fond memories of my favorites, and can’t even remember the names of the ones who weren’t. But over time, we forget. Unless we put into practice what we’ve learned, the lessons fade; the voices become less audible.

Let’s face it. As miserable as failure is, it’s the hard knocks of experience that teach us the painful life lessons we need to learn. Most of them come when we’re children. I remember well my favorite pair of shoes. They were shiny black patent leather that I wore only to church and on special occasions.

Never put your coffee next to your turp!

One spring we were celebrating Easter at my aunt’s farm. All the cousins were there; the girls dressed up in ruffles and sashes, and the boys in white shirts and dark trousers. While dinner was cooking in the kitchen, the children were sent outdoors for an Easter egg hunt. My uncle had hidden the eggs in an adjacent pasture.

We carried our baskets into the field with our eyes peeled for color. My cousin, Dale, found the first egg and cracked it on his head to show off. He peeled it on the spot and swallowed it whole. My older sister shouted a warning to us about cow pies. Dale blew her off as he proceeded to stomp on a crusty pie.

I followed his lead. It was great fun hearing a cow pie crunch and collapse beneath my feet. My sister’s warning was forgotten as my confidence and power grew. I found another pie that looked ripe for the crunching. I lifted my patent leather shoe and slammed down in the middle of it. Shock and awe left me speechless. My shiny patent leather shoe and white ruffled stocking were covered with warm, steamy cow dung.

Don't "touch up" a painting before going out!

Bawling and blubbering, I ran across the field, not caring whether I found any Easter eggs or not. My mother pulled back as she pushed my reeking shoe and stocking from my foot. The smell was overwhelming. My new shoes were ruined.

 Did I ever step in a cow pie again? Never! Did I have new found respect for my older sister’s advice? Yes! Did I ever make the same mistake again? No!

Why is it when we grow into adults we forget these lessons of the past? Why do we get so discouraged and think the world is coming to an end when we fail? It is not! Like children, we must pick ourselves up, clean off our shoes, and begin again.

Life is all about starting over. It’s about new beginnings. Every day we wake up to a fresh start and new opportunities. Life is never over “’til the fat lady sings,” and none of us knows when that moment will come. Make the most of each day!