Now that I’m in my late 20’s, just like my peers, I have ran across the thought of having a family here and there. God-willing. Down the road. On some random occasions, I have day dreamed what it would be like to have children—“I think 3 would be, ideally, how much children I’ll have…unless my future wife is more energetic than I am and want 4 instead, or 5, or 6…what would I name I my children, if it was a girl? I think Agatha would be a good name for a girl…” And the thought goes on and on and on. In my uninterrupted or interrupted stream of daydreaming, I have also thought of how I would form my children—“what values will I instill in my children? What lifelong lessons will I pass on to them?”
I have come up with some lessons I will pass on to her, or him, or them, particularly about one that I deem extremely important for my children to know.
I want to teach them something about failure.
I want to teach them that failure is a natural part of life, and that if they ever run into it, I want to teach them to embrace it and not push it away.
Through my intuitive capacities, I recognize that a lesson about failure is something that parents do not emphasize to their children. Even more so, failure is what parents urge their children to avoid. It’s natural for parents, most of the time, to wish nothing but the best for their children, and it’s normal. In fact, they are supposed to do that. Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing wrong with success. Certainly it is the best thing that can happen to anybody. However, we live in a time that is obsessed with success. I can guarantee you that nobody in this world ever has not pursued—other than peace perhaps—success. We’re naturally wired for it anyways! However, an obsession with success is also a way to one’s downfall. Sometimes, the problem in this world is not that many of us are not successful. The problem is that many of us are. And it leads to hunger—hunger for more, until we start bringing each other down to achieve success. We start pushing away those who seem to be on our way to it.
Reflecting on the experience of my youth, I have dealt with a lot of failures in my life. During a good stretch of my life, I must confess that I thought I was. “I should have done this or that. I should have been this way back then so things would’ve turned better than it actually turned out to be. I should have gotten a girlfriend…the girl I like ended up going out with that guy instead of me, so he must have something I don’t have or be someone that I’m not. Therefore I’m failure. @#$%^&!!! Why don’t I have that when everyone else has it already? Am I loser incompetent of doing well in this life?”
Yes, I know that feeling all too well.
I thought I did a fairly good job of concealing it under a face decorated by smile and empathy. I managed to conceal it at the cost of taking myself to some of the dirtiest places a mind can possibly go to. But looking back, I wouldn’t have it in any other way.
Just like anyone else, I HATED failure and pain. They render the most displeasing sensation to one’s body and soul. The sensation is almost just like the heat that the Earth was in contact with when it was just a baby. Failure is that painful enough to burn every bit of your being. It’s exactly why parents implicitly encourage their children to avoid it, and sure enough they have a case. Yet, billions of years later, look at Earth in its naked appearance—you see nature with a beauty so majestic it’ll force our sight to bow in reverence to it.
Similarly, failure does the same thing to us. It destroys us with pain we think we cannot handle, so we give up. But in the process of pain, we are formed into something beautiful—far more beautiful than nature, only if we allow our failures to do so. The Gospel message from last week is a testament to that process. Sure enough, that man of leprosy is a living failure but he did not turn away from it. Through faith in Christ, he allowed it to form him into something new. We often wonder why God allows suffering in this world. I think the reason why is that it is his way of parenting us. He could’ve made everything good and easy by the same necessity as ice is cold and fire is hot. When He created us, He did want us to be successful. But Beauty is far greater than Success. To an extent, we find beauty in success. But we can never find beauty in success if it is detached from its true purpose. Success is supposed to be one of the expressions of Beauty and not the expression of human achievement. If the latter is the case, then there is nothing to Success other than empty vanity. God made us not for greatness, but for beauty. And for us to attain the authentic Beauty for which we are made, we have to go through that process, and that process painful. Grace is not cheap, and so are we. It cost our Lord something to validate that painful process, when He went through it from Gethsemane to Golgatha to engineer the most beautiful thing in the entire universe—Easter Sunday. Just as the late Bishop Sheen said it, “Unless there is a Good Friday in our lives there can never be an Easter Sunday.”
In other words, unless we experience moments of failure and recognize its transforming power, we can never experience genuine success in our lives. Therefore, the truth is that we can never have it unless we have faith in God.
Again, don’t get me wrong; I would want my future children to achieve success, but the genuine one that comes from our Lord and not the one this sinful world promises.
I haven’t fully achieved that success yet, but I’m in the process. I know one day I will, if only I persevere in faith.
I want my children to meet my friend and make that friend theirs as well. She’s not as bad as many people think she is.
She always wears that black dress with patches of glittering diamond around both cuffs, but constantly weeps. I asked her why she weeps and she said “Everyone—including you—always pushes me away when I only want to make all of you feel how beautiful you are.” I asked her what her name was and she said—