"If it takes until the 10th time to succeed, then the first nine failures should be celebrated as much as the 10th success."
J and I looked at each other and smiled. J's dad was in town last week and we had an amazing time.
He was telling us about an idea he'd heard and that was really changing his thoughts. So we couldn't help but smile. Someone gets it, someone gets us.
The idea was one J and I had established as one of our top four family values two years ago, before we left New Jersey.
I realized I've never really unpacked any of our values on the blog so I guess it's a good time to start.
We talked about the idea of failure a little bit more and then I said, "You know what we could do tonight?" We were all pretty tired from the adventures of the week and J and his dad had been kayaking all morning, so they were sun-tired.
"We could watch Meet the Robinsons."
J heartily agreed and his dad looked a little confused.
"Do you like cartoons?" I worried a little.
"Actually, I really do! I just don't understand how our conversation lead to that idea."
I explained it was a movie we stumbled on when we were very first dating (eight years ago!) that had shaped a lot of J and my conversations and I thought he'd really like it. And that he wouldn't even cry.
We cleaned up from dinner, made milkshakes and started the movie.
The scene that surprises me the most is when Lewis is in the future and the family asks him to fix the peanut butter jelly machine. But then it explodes. Lewis is ashamed and you can tell he just wants to hide.
And then... they celebrate.
The extent to which the Robinson's celebrate seems a little outrageous (especially given that they're all covered in PB&J.)
Honestly, I think that's what J and I love about it. If they had only celebrated a little, it would have seemed like they were just trying to make Lewis "feel" better. But they were all so genuinely excited they threw a ridiculous sized party.
Whenever we've personally "failed" at anything in life there has been a negative reaction. When people respond it's as if they're saying, "Why did you even try?" Or... "Maybe you should try something else."
For me, I responded to that reaction by giving up. Not only giving up on things I'd failed at, but giving up on things I hadn't even tried yet.
When J and I first started processing these ideas together years ago, I realized that I wasn't even giving people the chance to celebrate my failures. I just didn't fail.
I thought of Yoda at times like those. "Do or do not. There is no try."
So I didn't.
But I think Yoda was wrong. (Is that blasphemous?) There is no "do" without "try". And most of the time, there is no "do" without "try again" and again and again.
So in the Hagen home, we value Moing Forward.
To us that means, every idea has a place.
Every idea gets a try, a fail, an outrageous celebration, and a try again.
It means we're learning, not thinking we have all the answers.
We're also growing, and that's usually uncomfortable and means you have growing pains, you might have to buy new shoes and you likely have to change the way you're living.
And we're not leaving the world around us as we found it, but we're hoping to bring something we can share with others.
It's a difficult change to make to look at failures in a positive light.
I think what Yoda should have said is:
"There is no fail. There is only try again."
Oh... J's dad loved the movie. We continued our conversation long after and were so encouraged and inspired, yet again.