“…And who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt, 1910
Positioning failure as a goal helps take the sting out of it. More importantly, having a list of my botched projects hanging in my studio provides tangible evidence of how far I’ve come.
It also keeps me from getting uppity.
That flopped promotion that had me sobbing under a pillow three months ago? Not a big deal in retrospect.
This thing that had me chasing a mixing bowl of cheese doodles with a pan of brownies last weekend? 2009 Ashia would pay one-million-space-bucks for such minor problems.
The Importance of Sulking
Let’s take a short moment to wallow. As much as your brain knows that failure is inevitable, that it’s an opportunity for growth and education, it still stings like holy heck.
Sulking, feeling the feels, this is a vital step we shouldn’t ever skip past. Acknowledge how much failure sucks not just for your own sanity, but to empathize with your littles when that shoe lace won’t stay tied, the mitten thumb won’t line up, and the blocks won’t stack high enough.
The only thing that alleviates frustration is validation and time. Set a reasonable time frame for the gloomies. Wrap yourself in something warm and soft and take a nap.
Now put your thinking cap back on and get back to changing the world.
Congratulations – your recent misadventure has gifted you with invaluable knowledge bringing you one step closer to something magnificent. What did you do well? What did you learn from trying? What is just one thing you can improve for your next attempt?
Botched Plans & Bungles
A book bin for first drafts & determination
For Ages 2 through adulthood
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes (Pett & Rubenstein)
This isn’t the strongest book in the bin. However, for those of us who like to play it safe, we can all use an occasional reminder that mistakes are not the end of the world.
Beautiful Oops (Saltzberg)
Calamus’s pick for the pre-school crowd
Full of pop-ups, rips, tears and flaps, Calamus and Nikolai love this interactive book that happens to show how wonderful mistakes can turn out to be.
Can I Play Too? (Willems)
Pig & Elephant come up with some creative (and terrible) solutions in the search for the perfect game.
The Little Engine That Could (Piper & Long)
This updated version of the classic about determination and perseverance also features a female protagonist.
If you order this book online, be aware of the many versions available. The mini books (smaller than 5×5″) feature hard-to-read, abridged text. The newer version illustrated by Loren Long (2005) is our personal favorite, although Amazon seems to have mixed this version up with the classic and mini versions. The oversized gift edition (2006) is unpleasant to read because of its size.
Rosie Revere, Engineer (Beaty & Roberts)
Rosie is an inventor who needs a little nudge to realize that failure is just one step in the quest to build something truly fantastic.
Try and Stick with It (Meiners)
The only non-story in the bunch, Calamus and I love this series targeted to preschoolers. Providing realistic examples of tough situations keeps Calamus riveted and gives us lots of talking points to inspire conversation.
For those of us on the autism spectrum, this series as a fantastic resource for social skills and the exaggerated facial expressions of the characters is a big help in empathy-training.
The Most Magnificent Thing (Spires)
The Most Magnificent thing is one of my top-10 most favorite children’s books of all time. This is the go-to book for managing frustration and exploring the path to creative work. It’s funny, it’s inspiring, and you need to go read it right now.
I love this book so much, it’s on my birthday wishlist, right after oven mitts that look like bear paws.
Bonus: Check out this stop-motion video created by students at the Elmwood School in Ottowa. What a great project!
If you enjoyed this post, you can find more Books for Littles Book Bins here.
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When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
– Henry Ford
Leave a comment below – which books inspire you to pick yourself up and dust yourself off?