It’s Scary to Talk About Failure

Note: The Ben Alexander Grant for Faculty Enrichment at The Peck School is awarded to one or more faculty members each summer. Up to $2,500 is available for a personally enriching experience that demonstrates the growth mindset and sincere interest of the applicant. A proposal for the grant need not relate to their teaching responsibilities at Peck. The following story poignantly illustrates that growth and success do not always travel hand in hand.

CHELSEY CARR – UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER AND DEAN OF STUDENTS, 7TH AND 8TH GRADES:  My four year old son, Matthew, recently asked to go to the jet pack store. He wanted to fly and saw the purchase of a jet pack as an obvious substitute to the gift of wings. Matthew instructed me to research a store on my phone’s map; I did my own research — on Pinterest. Finding DIY jet pack instructions, we set out to gather the materials. We bought, emptied, and dried two 2 litre bottles; went outside, spread newspaper on the driveway, and started to coat the plastic with silver spray paint. Only, the nozzle became stuck. The freon continued to spray, but not the paint. So, with one green plastic bottle still green, we moved inside and waited for the painted bottle to dry. Later, we cut felt and glued it along with shot-sized red Solo cups to create the boosters — and, no, I did not have these on hand. Once Matthew was harnessed into the contraption, I waited for his reaction. How did our homemade jet pack stand up to his expectations? Did it feel like half-painted empty soda bottles were stuck to his back? Or, like he was one with a machine, a jet pack, revving and ready to take him to new heights? I braced myself for a response.

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