Lately, I’ve been thinking about failure. Professional failure, personal failure, academic failure…it’s been on my mind. In my professional life, I’ve been watching my students learn, and I’ve been watching how they handle failure. Some of them are afraid of failure. In fact, one kid told me point blank that he cannot fail.
Here’s the thing. I completely disagree with that concept. I think he can fail, and I think that we all NEED to fail. I think that failure is absolutely vital for growth. We have to fail so that we can learn how to bounce back from failure. As Alfred told Bruce Wayne, we have to fall so that we can learn to pick ourselves back up.
Failure provides room for growth. Some of the best things in my life have come as a direct result of my failures. I never would have become an English teacher if I hadn’t failed the OPI. I never would have started pursuing my master’s in TESOL if I hadn’t lost my first job. In the moment, I perceived each of those events as a failure. Those moments hurt. Some of those moments really, really sucked. But then, I had to pick myself up from each of those failures and move forward. I had to reassess my life and move forward.
And I’ve grown from those moments. I’ve discovered how much passion I can have for TESOL. I’ve rediscovered my love of teaching through that experiences. Through both of those moments, I learned how much I love teaching people about things that I am deeply passionate about. My failures have made me stronger. My failures have taught me more about myself.
Yes, these moments have been difficult. Yes, I’ve been hurt. Yes, I’ve had dark nights and struggles. I’ve cried. I’ve yelled at God. I still have difficult moments. I still struggle to understand why I have faced certain difficulties in my life. But I know that God has a plan for me. I know that there are things that he wants for me. I know that he is working in and through those circumstances to make me holy. That doesn’t automatically zap the hurt of failure, but it does give me a glimmer of hope. God wouldn’t have allowed me to encounter those moments if he didn’t intend to do great things with those moments.
And in some ways, I’m grateful for the failures. I’m a stronger person because of them. I’m a better person because of them. I don’t like the failures, but in falling, I’ve learned to pick myself back up again. The falls, the failures-these have helped me to grow. They’ve made me stronger. I wouldn’t be who I am without those falls. Falling made Bruce Wayne into Batman. It makes me a stronger version of myself.
So why do we fall? We fall to rise. We fall so that we can rise to greatness.