In “Step 7: Failure and Redemption,” near the end of The Falconer, Grant Lichtman wrote:
“What is it that you want that you have failed to attain?”
“Clarity. A unified theory. The sense that, after a full life of trying, I got it right.”
“To truly consider yourself a warrior,” says Sunny, “you must set your personal bar very high. If the challenges are not great enough, you either must raise the bar, or cease to consider yourself a true warrior. Guaranteed success means you have set the bar too low. Things like clarity and a unified theory…I would say those are fairly high bars.
“At some point, you are going to fail, not at a simple task or at solving a problem. You are going to fail in your fundamental goals, your belief system, your moral foundation, or your self-view. It is an inevitable result of setting the bar higher and higher.
“But failure, as you have taught your Children, is inevitable in your own model. You cannot be more perfect than the people you encounter every day. You may be able to set higher philosophical goals or more complex personal challenges, but you cannot escape failure.
“So for your model to be complete, there must be a last step, one that recognizes the inevitability of failure and allows us to move on towards our goal of happiness. The question is, for you, how can you overcome this feeling of failure? What will allow you to step back into the ring and try again?”
Mr. Usher gazes deeply at his friend without blinking. Sunny has never seen him this intent.
“If I knew the answer to that, I would not be in this funk.”
“I will answer it for you then,” says Sunny. “You need to know that you have both the right and the responsibility to try again. This is your redemption. This is the warrior’s redemption: another chance; the chance to be wrong in what we do, but right in the passion with which we try.
“Redemption comes from trying, despite the sure knowledge that you will fail.”
I continue to be convinced that whole schools must adopt an experimenter’s mindset…a mindset of trial and error that leads to long-term growth, but with some inevitable short-term frustration and angst. We can model persistence and life-long learning by striving to find those uncomfortable places where deep learning occurs.
In this week’s #EdJourney video-cast interview, Grant Lichtman and I explore a few questions related to this school-wide searching, exploring, and self-evolving.
Grant Lichtman’s The Learning Pond
- Oct. 24 post: “Three Easy Steps to Rapidly Innovate at Your School“