Small People

Small People

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Failure Breeds Success

I want my children to fail. There - I said it. While I hate seeing my children upset, I know that failure is good for them.

Do I mean that I don't ever want them to succeed? Absolutely not! I love watching my children succeed and celebrating those successes with them. But without the failures, those successes don't mean as much.

In 2015, at 10 years old, Caelin started racewalking for our city track club. She came in first place in the state meet and then came in first in the region meet, qualifying to go to the National Junior Olympic meet. So our family packed up and traveled down to Jacksonville, Florida, so she could compete at nationals. Racewalking is a difficult event and has very specific rules about technique. Not having the proper technique can cause an athlete to be disqualified, which is exactly what happened to Caelin at that national meet. She raced a good race and crossed the finish line in 5th place, which would have earned her an All-American title. After the race, the judges informed her and 2 other girls that they had been disqualified. Their race didn't count. No 5th place, no All-American honors. She was devastated! It broke my heart.

2019 New Balance National Outdoor
Fast forward to today - just 4 years later. She's continued to racewalk. She spent that next year working on her technique to make sure she was legal, and then she started working on getting faster. She's returned to nationals every year since, and was an All-American for the past 2 years - 7th place in 2017 and 5th in 2018.

Yesterday she raced at the New Balance National Outdoor meet. This is one of the biggest meets in the nation for high school track. She qualified to race in the Championship division, which is the most elite. In her race, she was the youngest by at least 2 years. She was the only junior high girl, while all of the other girls were sophomores or older. She hung in there with the rest of them, coming in 13th and achieving a 40 second improvement over her previous personal best.

If you ask her, she'll quickly tell you that being disqualified that first year was the best thing that could have happened to her. It forced her to work hard. She could have quit after that first year. She could have walked away and never raced again, thinking it just wasn't worth it. But she didn't. She persevered and has become a much stronger person because of her initial failure. This is why I want my children to fail because, through their failure, they can find success.

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