My two-year old is obsessed with Rosie Revere Engineer, and to put it plainly, so am I. There are a lot of reasons to love this book – it is a beautiful story with wonderful illustrations; it is poetically written and the main character is an intelligent little girl with big dreams and ideas. It is an absolute delight to read aloud every single day, exactly one and a half ways through. (I am always asked to “read again, please” but alas for the many distractions of the vibrant energy of a toddler.)[Spoiler Alert] In the story, one of Rosie’s early inventions gets laughed at, not in a mean spirited way, but it makes her self-conscious and she vows to keep her dream to herself. But, a perplexing problem draws Rosie out of her hiding… to meet failure yet again. Except this time, her brilliant Great Great Aunt Rose praises her failure, proclaims her a step closer to success, and Rosie Revere learns that, “Life might have its failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit.”
The truth is, at some point in all of our lives, we have been discouraged from doing something we really cared about, loved even. Sometimes the “advice” is meant kindly but it is just as negatively impacting as a hoard of hate mail and cyber bullying. Even as adults we carry some of the earliest memories of being ridiculed and discredited. The fear of being pointed out and called a fraud keeps us from standing out (and being outstanding, for that matter) and instead of living boldly and authentically as our true selves, we do our best to blend in.
I was always discouraged from creating art and music as a child, mostly because my parents thought I could better spend my time studying. I was told that what I created was good, but not good enough… that I lacked imagination. (Ouch, right?) Ultimately, they meant well but these words are still part of my inner voice and I struggle with that every. single. day… but here’s the beautiful thing… Every single day that I get up to write and make art, I am winning. It’s not the kind of winning that is done at the expense of someone else’s loss. It’s pure winning.
Whatever you are struggling with… more power and light to you.