If you’ve been hanging around for a while you know that when Dave was about four — the same Dave who just turned 38 — I wound up, kind of accidentally, in a parenting class called Developing Capable People.
To make a long story less long, I’m so glad I did!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until the cows come home…I’m not sure Dave and I would have made it if it weren’t for the author of the course, Steve Glenn.
Skipping along a bit, I wound up as a certified DCP group leader and, for many years, could practically recite the audio stuff by heart.
Literally, by heart.
This weekend, I’ve been pondering one of the best (and possibly most subversive) things I learned from Steve:
There’s no such thing as failure. Only experience to be learned from.
Read that again, please.
I’m not sure about you, but this is not what I grew up hearing!
I grew up with the notion that failure was shameful and made one somehow less than expected.
And, just between us, I was more than ready to trade that particular perception in for Steve’s considerably more radical notion.
In case you’re wondering why Steve is sitting, psychically, beside me as I write this just now, I have a very simple answer.
A very simple answer and a bit of an explanation.
First, we’re pondering oracles in my Legend painting class, and Steve is right up there on the list of the oracles I’ve encountered.
Secondly, I spilled my brush water. Again.
No worries. That’s why my little vintage serving cart on wheels has paper towels.
It’s also why I posted a question for the far more experienced painters in the circle and asked if anybody knows where the cool little beige paint caddies with sides in all the videos come from!
No time for shame and blame or labels like “clumsy”. It takes time away from painting!
Then there were the eyes.
First, let me say that this is only the third painting I ‘ve ever done, and the first where I’ve attempted open eyes. Very scary!
“Not to worry,” insist the experts. “Just paint over it!”
I didn’t really understand.
I just knew the eyes weren’t working for me. I kept adjusting.
For a while they looked a lot like martini olives. Oops!
Finally, it occurred to me that all the fixing wasn’t fixing anything and I could actually start over!
No failure. Just experience to be learned from.
Hence, the rather alien looking being in the photo above. I adjusted the size of her eyes and then painted out the “olives” and, after what I devoutly hope will be a good night’s sleep, I will begin again.
No shame or blame or labels like “totally without talent”.
Just, as the master sculptor of the Renaissance, Michelangelo, would say, “I am still learning.”
What if that was what we were teaching our kids?
And, for that matter, what if we believed?
I believe. (Most days!)