What My Granddaughter Taught Me About Failure—and Resilience

What My Granddaughter Taught Me About Failure—and Resilience

This week’s inspiration comes from a special visit with my daughter, Brittany, and her daughter, Blakely Faye, my three-year-old granddaughter. We made it a girls’ weekend, complete with ample time for holiday shopping, treat-making, and visits with friends and family.

I learned so much! Blakely Faye has a way of looking at things that refreshes me.

Like her mom, she often doesn’t require much sleep. After the first night, a late one that was well past her bedtime, she woke up earlier than usual.

“Blakely,” Brittany said, “I thought you were going to sleep in this morning.”

“No, Mama, I didn’t,” she said, pausing to give us both her cherubic (or was it impish?) grin. “I didn’t sleep in. I slept out!”

Brittany and I laughed hard as I shot her that I-feel-your-pain look since she was regularly up at 4:30 a.m. in her toddler years. And just as I did nearly three decades ago, we took advantage of that early start and were the first ones to arrive at a local Sip and Shop celebration.

Blakely made it through lunch and then promptly crashed during shoe shopping.

Recharged from her power nap, she couldn’t wait to help make our traditional Christmas treat—Texas Snow.

After a quick game of hide and seek–

it was time for arts and crafts. We started with a sticker project but soon needed some colored pencils to finish the job. Since they were unsharpened, I showed her how to use my handy-dandy battery-operated pencil sharpener.

She was successful with the first two pencils, but then changed her hand position and the sharpener toppled to the floor, crashing hard. Pencils, batteries, and shavings flew everywhere. I braced myself for tears, hysterics, or a frantic run to her mom for comfort.

But instead she looked up at me and said quietly, “It was an accident, Nana. An accident.”

No drama. No tears. No hysterics.

Oh, if we could only learn to view our failures so crisply, so simply!

Then Blakely picked up the pieces, handed them to me, and resumed the sticker project as I figured out how to put the sharpener back together. Later I showed her how to hold on to the sharpener with one hand while inserting the pencil with the other. We finished the pack with no more “accidents.”

I loved the way she dealt with her mishap–a lesson in resilience. She accurately assessed the situation, did what she could to address it, moved on to accomplish other tasks while others more skilled tried to solve the problem, was receptive to learn from it and, most importantly, was willing to try again.

Wow. Blakely Faye, you inspire me!

So often we can let the drama of a misstep overpower the simple reality. We let our feelings amplify the facts, “awfulizing” it into a larger issue. So, thank you, Blakely Faye, for reminding us to simplify our setbacks and failures, and to keep moving through them until we can learn from them.

How about you? Have others’ approaches to failure or setbacks inspired you? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Honored to be featured HERE on MindResilience.org, a new website from the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration.

P.P.S. And delighted to be a part of the Brave Girls podcast this week. Check it out here:

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