This I Believe

Jeff - Cedar Falls, Iowa
Entered on December 14, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Failing at Life

My mother always tells me that I like to learn things the hard way. I felt that this was a bad thing and I made a conscious effort to prove her wrong; I usually failed. This brought me to the conclusion that I believe in failure. I have failed at many things; however, I have always learned something valuable each time. From such varied things as reading to Iowa All-State tryouts.

Trying out for All-State was quite a learning experience, to put it simply. I started practicing in the late summer and finally stopped in early October. I could not get all the scales down. Second position in thumb position really got me. I dropped out a week before the tryouts. Effectively failing. However, all the time spent on All-State honed my skills at bass, to the point where I dominated the jazz band tryouts that were in November. Failing at one thing helped me excel later on, just like my first grade career.

When I was in kindergarten I achieved quite a lot. I caught onto all of the concepts faster than the other kids and it looked like I would be well prepared for first grade, and reading. After the first couple weeks in first grade I started struggling. I quickly fell behind the other students in reading and spelling. They sent me to a specialist and it was determined that I had some sort of learning disorder, that was inhibiting my ability of learning to read. I succeeded in kindergarten because I was able to memorize what sound went with what letter; I was unable to easily put them into words.

After concluding that I had a learning disorder, my teacher sent me to a brand new program that they had just started offering at my school, it was called Reading Recovery. Most kids were only in the program for three months, I was in it for six. Mainly, because the reading recovery teacher loved working with me, I was so receptive to her teaching. When I graduated from the program I was yet again reading on a higher level than the other kids. I assume that it was because I had so much one on one time with a teacher. After I received that boost of instruction I grew out of the disability and my reading tested into a third grade level.

If I had not failed at reading in the first place I know I would not be reading as well today. Some people have a fear of failing; I have a fear of not failing. Without failure nothing new is achieved.