I thought my favorite line from the movie, Transformers, would make a quick and easy New Year’s blog topic. And it did, for a minute.
One of the quotes listed on my Facebook profile is from a sheet of paper my father gave me when I was about 16. “The most unfortunate thing that happens to a person who fears failure is that he limits himself by becoming afraid to try anything new. Give yourself a chance.”
I can honestly say that I’ve gone beyond the chance aspect of living and changed that into an expectation. My brothers and I might call it the Worth Ethic. We simply have this expectation that if we set our minds to it, the doggone thing will happen. End of story. So fear, I presumed at the start of this blog, has no place in my life.
But it does!
I am deathly afraid of failing to try. I am certain that if I have the slightest inkling of a talent that I don’t put to productive use, the good Lord will look at me as I stand before him and say, “But why didn’t you ever. . .?” I am a staunch believer in the parable of the talents (about multiplying what you’ve been given) to the point that I’m willing to pounce on the slightest glimmer of interest in any new activity by my children.
“Oh, you think you might like to draw?” We try an art class. “Want to be like Denzel Washington, do you?” Acting workshops. “Like to shake it up?” Dance class it is. And for speed, tackling, a good arm, a strong kick, there’s been track, football, hockey, soccer, basketball and baseball. Oh and viola and trumpet lessons -- with the next household instrument to be determined. I even bought a camera for my son who (temporarily) showed a knack for great composition in impromptu photos.
Some might consider it overkill, I call it exposure. How else would Barack Obama have known he could be president if he’d never tried to be an elected official? I just want my kids to venture into new experiences without fear of failure. In our house, it’s not not succeeding that I focus on. It’s not exploring your heart’s desire, not attempting to discern your strengths and weaknesses, not learning what’s out there in the world waiting for you to find it.
As a writer, I’ve done my share of dabbling. Those things that didn’t work out get added to my Lived & Learned file. And I relish those experiences. Taking them along on this writer’s journey is perhaps one way of multiplying my gift; expanding my own mind while sharing with others.
The fear I carry is not a worrisome one that flinches at failure or cringes at condescending viewpoints. It’s more of a "Forget Everything Else And Rise!" motivator that keeps pushing me to do me best.
"Fear or courage"? For this fleshling, it’s both.
Here’s wishing you a FEEAR-ful 2009!