Success is rarely a straight, easy, or expedient line from start to finish, and if and when it ever is, it is success shallowly gained, shallowly achieved. Success–real, I dug-deep-and-fought-for-it success–is a mess, a circuitous mass of dead ends, restarts, and reroutes. Success without some mistake, some setback, some failure is not truly success.
And this is what I try to instill in my kids. I want them to see success as much a struggle as a triumph. And, more often than not, this manifests itself in my work with them during our writing experiences. I tell them I want to see their beautiful messes. I tell them that they may not erase or backspace on drafts, as it destroys the evidence of their toil, the trail of their paths. I tell them that if it was easy, it’s probably not good. I tell them that success in writing is series of intentional accidents until they find the right words. And I say this over and over until it sinks in. And that is not easy, for they have learned that–been conditioned to believe that–success happens in a straight expedient line from one lesson, to one chapter, to one unit after another, ever-forward in a linear fashion as they are rushed headlong through the coverage model that we so perpetuate in education. And consequently, they–I believe–experience too many shallow successes because we don’t give them the time to live and breathe and struggle in their messes. Learning takes time. Success takes time. A lot of time. Through the 180 experience, I am able to give that time, that opportunity, that important first step for kids to embrace the mess of success. Today, the mess, the long road to success continues. Love making messes with my kids.
Happy Tuesday, all. Take the long road today. Make a mess. Give yourself that gift, that freedom. You deserve it.