Failure is not the worst that can happen…

by And the White Lion Roars!

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In early December I posted to Facebook some sentimental feelings about new babies born into my extended family. Between November 17 and December 8 I had two new grandnieces and one grandnephew born, though only one has any biological relation to me. I love babies and children, for who they are, but even more (is it an age thing?) for what they represent. I thought I’d moved on, but Christmas Eve I held one of the precious babies as everyone else opened gifts, and I felt that I had the best gift of all in my arms. My sister, his grandmother, sat beside me in the family circle and we laughed at all the funny faces that five-week old babies make. Another sister watched me with amusement as I continuously talked to him, not in baby talk, but just carrying on a one-sided conversation that hopefully stimulated his mind, and will help him in learning speech. Yah, I think about stuff like that when I hold an infant. Anyway, with a few modifications and additions, I decided to share the post here as we approach a new year.

“Autumn is the season of reflection, and I’ve been doing much of that this week. Since November 17 we have added 3 new babies to our extended family, Two grandnieces and one grandnephew. It makes me think of the world as it is, and what I would like to see them inherit. That world is a long way from existing at this point, but it is not impossible to achieve. So, Dustin, Rowen and Miriam, I wish you love. I know you will have that because your parents and grandparents, and your great aunts and uncles love you already. But I also wish you a clean world, where your health is not threatened by consciensceless people who would rather rationalize the chemicals they vomit into our environment than try to fix their way of doing things. This is not unfixable. I hope the people who care about these problems can make a difference before you have asthma, diabetes, reproductive problems caused by these chemical disruptions of your air, water and food supply. I wish you green places that are so beautiful they take your breath away. I wish you wildlife to fill you with awe at nature’s wonders.

But more than anything, I wish you a world of peace. One in which people’s differences excite each other for the opportunity to learn instead of filling people with fear and hate. I wish a world where religion does not lead to hate, fear, and killing. Peace and love are not just hippie dreams, they are possible, and the world can achieve these things if it wants to. The presence of the three of you in the world makes me want to work harder for these things, because babies are signs of hope, and you three are proof to me that there will be another generation can fix the world that has been so degraded by our generation.”

When your grandparents and I were children we would go to holiday celebrations, and family reunions, and there would always be old women there who would want to hug us with their flabby arms, carry on about how much we’d grown, how much we looked like which ever parent was on their side of the family. At the time we made fun of those flabby arms, and claimed to hate the hugs and kisses from these strangers. But now I get it. I understand now what we represented to those whose lives were put on hold by war, and whose dreams were put on hold by marriages and children, and the expectations of a world that can be very hard on dreams. We looked like what they still felt themselves to be in their minds. I get it because in my mind I’m still young enough to follow those dreams of my youth, though in reality it is too late, and I’m not that young. So to me now, you represent those chances I didn’t take. You represent the hope that fear and laziness won’t stop you from trying to achieve all the things I believe you have in you. So let me promise you now that I will be that old lady with the flabby arms, hugging and kissing you, carrying on about how fast you grow, and how much you look like my relative.

I implore you now, while there is still time, never be afraid to try to achieve a dream. No matter how hard it is, and how great your chance of failure, if you don’t try you will grow old with regret. Regrets drain the joy out of every day, and I don’t want that for you. Failure may happen, but when it does all you need to do is reassess, “Do I try again, or is this really the wrong dream for me?” If the answer is try again, then try again. Failure is not the worst thing that can happen. And your family is there to help you pick up the pieces. Just as your family is there to be filled with hope at the new life you have, with all the potential it contains. Just live it. To the fullest. Never let fear hold you back. Never be afraid to fall, or work, or get dirty. Take our lives and failures as lessons. And live your life better than we’ve lived ours. Don’t fail your children as our generation failed your parent’s generation. Make the world you will leave behind in one-hundred years or so a better place. It can be done. And I believe your generation is the one that can do it.