"Failure is always an option" - the Mythbusters
The Mythbusters are a huge favorite here at the Selke household, and we experienced the beauty and truth of this quote last night.
My boys are both Cub Scouts, and they have to make space derby planes for Wednesday's pack meeting. Our lives have been somewhat chaotic lately ("somewhat" being a bit of an understatement), so they were only able to begin the task on Monday evening. While I am a den leader, I'm hopeless when it comes to tools or handicrafts. Fortunately, my husband is a whiz at such things. Unfortunately, he's also completely swamped at work right now. That's part of the reason we had to wait so long to get started.
Anyway, the blocks were glued and ready to go. The boys sat down with their vegetable peelers to shape their masterpieces. They peeled... and peeled... and peeled.
They were warned not to peel too little, or the ship would be heavier than needed. They were warned not to peel too much, or the ship would be weak and crack under the pressure.
They were warned.
Yet their boyish enthusiasm for zipping off strips of wood took over. Too much! They peeled off too much! It was like watching Icarus plummet to the sea as their eyes filled up with tears as they realized their mistake.
Calmly, my husband explained again to them what they could have done. Calmly, he let them snap their failed planes in half to help them deal with their frustration. Calmly, he glued together the replacement kits so they could try again.
Yes, they are frustrated. Yes, they may not have the most perfect ship in the race. What they learned, though, is more valuable than that. They learned about patience. They learned about listening carefully to advice from a mentor craftsman. They are learning the consequences of mistakes - and that mistakes can be fixed. Failure, and learning how to manage failure, is often the best teacher.
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