Failure is Life’s Great Educator

Anyone who has been pregnant or has or had a wife who is pregnant, the nesting phase towards the end  of third trimester is an interesting time.  Compound that with the fact that the wife is on bed rest, and the husband is in a lot of trouble.  Enter me, a young naive husband willing to do what he can to make his wife happy, including hanging crown moulding in the soon to be nursery so the room can match all the other rooms in the house.  Fifteen hours and one hundred dollars later, mission accomplished.  That is until my wife walks in and says, “Honey, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you hung the crown moulding upside down.  It’s different from every room in the house.” 

I was crushed, how could this be?  I read all the directions, looked at them again, felt frustrated, angry and disappointed all at the same time – an entire day was wasted!  My wife, heading back to bed, was upset and crying, undecided on which fate was worse; taking down the moulding, buying more, and putting it back in right side up; or, leaving the moulding as is in its finished state but leaving the nursery looking different from every room in the house.  In my eagerness to make amends I try to tell my wife that the moulding I put is hung correctly (seriously, it is, I have a book entirely on moulding and it told me to hang it this way, I swear).  She did not share my sense of humor at this moment.

The hardest part of failure is when I put all of my time into something that I feel good about, such as hanging crown moulding, only to find out that I missed one key step.  It never occurred to me to check the rest of the house to see how the moulding was put up, the book said to hang it a certain way, it must have been right, the author had his own home repair show, I couldn’t argue with him.  Now I am faced with my disappointment knowing that I need to take it down, buy two more boards, and put it up correctly.

Even though I am ashamed at the failure, I know I have the power to make it right. This is what I try to get across to my students all the time.  There are moments when I can solve problems for them, but it does help to let them fail once in a while as from that failure comes great knowledge.  Rather than give up, throw my hammer through a wall, or decide never to do home repairs again, I now know to check which way the crown moulding is hung in my house before attempting to cut and install new moulding.  The goal is to teach my students how their own failures can become life lessons, especially when hanging crown moulding.

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~ by cadaleaders on April 9, 2010.

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