It may seem juvenile, but I don’t care–I am a huge fan of Disney’s Phineas & Ferb. I think even if I weren’t a mother the show would appeal to me with it’s free promotion of creativity and optimism, not to mention the fact that every episode has at least one song. I love musicals–it’s a guilty indulgence of mine to curl up on the couch on a rainy evening to watch Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly–really anything with singing and dancing, and if it’s in black and white, so much the better.
Phineas & Ferb combines my affinity for musicals with my penchant for a positive, up-lifting and inspiring message. How wonderful to encourage children to explore their curiosities, be creative and follow their passions, at a time when avoiding failure is such a prevalent theme in society.
The notion that failure is bad and should be avoided is ingrained in children as they grow up through the school system. Don’t get failing grades because you won’t pass your class. Don’t fail that experiment because it will mean you didn’t learn anything. Don’t make mistakes because it’s a sign of bad character and poor parenting. And let’s not forget: If you don’t go to college you won’t be able to get a good job to make money so that you can live a happy life.
However there’s a growing counter-culture of families–especially in the realm of homeschoolers–who realize that failure is not the end-all to life. Failure is a powerful learning tool, and mistakes can be great motivators. They should be treated as such, accepted, even embraced.
It’s so easy to fall into a negative mind-set, though. Life can be overwhelming, with it’s disappointments, let-downs, obstacles and even disasters. Picking yourself up over and over again can get exhausting. It takes real strength of will and character to persevere; and the more difficult path you chose the harder that perseverance will be to hold on to.
That’s why I think it’s important to raise our children as creative innovators and optimistic free-thinkers who are not afraid to fail or make mistakes. I believe that when an opportunity presents itself you need to make the most of it. And if opportunity doesn’t manifest itself, you need to believe in yourself enough to create the opportunities yourself. If you encounter an obstacle, don’t give up–find a way around it, work to overcome the hurdle so that you an achieve your goals.
Carpe diem–it’s the mantra I live my life by. If I can teach my boys nothing else, I hope that this one lesson remains with them for the rest of their lives.