Wednesday, March 16, 2016

learning to fail



Last year, before we moved, we had a yard sale. Mini-Engineer decided he wanted to sell something and earn money, too, but he didn’t want to sell any of his own belongings. So he drew a bunch of pictures and offered them to people who came to the sale. For $3 each. Yeah. His belief in his drawing skills may be overrated.

I could have stopped him. I could have told him no. Instead, I let him. Before the sale we talked about how people would be looking for cheap prices, and that they would bargain. Then I stood back and let him try. I knew he would be turned away and rejected. I knew that he would have disappointments, but I also hoped he would have victories. He approached the people on his own, negotiated on his own, though I kept a watchful eye. Some people did buy his pictures, not for $3, but they were sweet and nice and those good points got him through the rejections. Even better, he learned what he can do if he tries, that he can live through rejection, and that he can keep trying after failing.

It was hard to stand back and let him do this on his own. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But I know it was in his best interest. I also know it’s a necessary part of his growth. I try to keep this in mind through the query process. This is an important lesson, and hard as it is for me, no matter the outcome, I know I’ll be better at the end of it.

12 comments:

  1. Yes, sometimes it's hard to let someone we love learn things the hard way. Hard for us too.

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  2. Perfect example of querying in a microcosm! Love this post, Sara!

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  3. It takes a lot of strength to stand back and allow your child to discover success and failure on his own terms. Good for you! Of course, he did have a safety net in you, should he not be able to deal with it. As you have in us, if it gets rough out there in query land. :-)

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  4. I'll buy one! But I want it signed. I like all of my original art autographed. I once bought paper airplanes from a young man selling them on the net. One day, when he's inventing space planes, I'll be cashing those in for big bucks. You have got to love industrious kids.

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  5. How clever of him! It takes guts to put yourself out there like that--he sounds like a brave kid!

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  6. Sounds like it was an important moment for both of you. It can be incredibly difficult to let someone else learn those kinds of lessons by themselves and it takes a great deal of strength to do so. Inventive kiddo, though. ;)

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  7. I suspect your parents felt the same way when you were first adapting to life as a writer. What a wonderful way to teach your son the importance of confidence and determination. I hope you'll continue to share with us his life adventures.

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  8. You're a good mama! Giving your child the space and freedom to spread his wings, even when you know he may not soar, isn't easy, but it is such a valuable lesson for him to learn. If he follows in your footsteps and tries his hand at writing when he gets older, he's already better prepared for enduring the query and submission stages than a lot of us were.

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  9. FIVE stars for you, MOM.... Great way to let you child know that there are going to be disappointments in life along with the good things!

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  10. I think you provided a safe environment for your child to practice his entrepreneurial skills at your yard sale.

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  11. I think you provided a safe environment for your child to practice his entrepreneurial skills at your yard sale.

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  12. Wow, that's amazing. It takes real guts to try something like that -- glad he had your support to feel brave enough to get out there and do it!

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