An Open Letter to My Children
Now that you are well on your way into adulthood, I would like to take a moment to share some thoughts with you. I have enjoyed those many occasions when you have come on your own to seek my counsel, what parent wouldn’t! However, I think there are some things I would like to share with you which transcend those issues we have talked about from time to time.
The one constant I know you will face throughout your life, since you are MY children and I can see already how you have modeled your own life after the example your Mom and I have set, is that you will fail often and even spectacularly many times throughout your life. Many of your peers and even other family members will not experience the level of failure you will get to enjoy because most will never choose to live life in the deliberate and goal oriented manner you have chosen.
As I am sure you know, every year starting in mid-December through early January I spend a considerable amount of time reviewing the previous year and planning the next year. If you looked at the records I have kept for most of the past 25 years (which you never will get to see) you will notice right away how badly I have done year after year in meeting my goals. You could rightly say I have failed in just about every endeavor I have undertaken. However, the irony is that despite missing most of my goals, I have accomplished more than I could ever have dreamed.
The best part of failure is that you will very seldom fail utterly. Each goal you set, each project you start will, by the very act of pursuing it, will take you further down the road of life than if you had done nothing. Even failing spectacularly often result in the important lessons on what NOT to do in the future and what maybe what to do next time.
And there will always be a next time. You must always be planning your next endeavor. It is very easy to wallow in self pity when you have the wind knocked out of you. If you stay there long enough you may never get up again.
The vast majority of people tolerate failure long enough to find a place where they can coast through the rest of their life. What a mediocre way to live! It is better to seek out challenges which push you to grow, accept each set back, and then… “wait upon the LORD (who) shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (One of our favorite verses.)