“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice”

Brian Herbert, author

Just outside the city limits where I live you’ll discover a place called Alley Park. Waiting there for your enjoyment are miles of hiking trails nestled among rolling hills and forest. Bring your bait and tackle because near the entrance is a giant lake for fishing. And located next to the lake is a lodge you can rent for your next wedding, dance, or birthday party. No need to feel lonely, you’ll be sharing this experience with a happy group of woodland creatures including snakes, rabbits, owl, deer, squirrels, fish, frogs, toads, and skunks.

Starting at the east end of the lake there is a winding trail over the hills and through the woods.

Just like the song, it may sound like we’re going to grandma’s house. But that’s not the case here. A half a mile later this hike brings us to another lake. It was here, many summers ago, my wife and I witnessed an exciting quest to conquer the high seas.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Helen Keller, author

Ignoring “No Trespassing and Private Property” signs, three boys hoisted a makeshift raft over the fence which separated the park from a farm. With rope, they had lashed together four large oil drums and made a deck out of wooden planks.  With unmatched enthusiasm, the ship builders headed out to sea. They were about half way across the lake when they must have hit the same iceberg that sank the Titanic. Their raft came apart in half a dozen pieces. Sorry, I can’t print what was said as they swam to shore then disappeared over the horizon.

From time to time I think about those boys. Put me in charge of handing out grades they earn an A for adventure. After changing into dry clothes and some time to reflect, I wonder what kind of conversation they had? Since they all survived the sinking of their ship and safely made it back to dry land, did they vow to try again?  I have no way of knowing what they did next but in my opinion the best question these young pioneers could ask themselves is, what did we learn?

“You always pass failure on your way to success.”

Micky Rooney, actor

I think we should put on our party pants and celebrate failure. Where would we be without it?

It is most often given a bad name but rarely do we ever get anything right on the first try. So failure ought to be seen as a mark of courage. Ask Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Colonel Sanders, Dr. Seuss, Stephen King, or Henry Ford. They were all failures, some many times over, before the world caught on to their gifts and talents. So dust off your dreams and have another go at it.