December 28, 2009

Mistakes & Opportunities

On the eve of a new year it is time to engage in some sharing of Jack's wisdom. It is a practical tool kit of tips and advice garnered over a lifetime of learning. How is that for a boatload of Bullshit. I kind of like it, but why shouldn't I.

Bear with me for a moment and I'll tell you what I mean by mistakes and opportunities.

Golden Slumbers- The Beatles
"Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby"

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby"
Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby"
It has been a brutal year from start to finish. A time of learning and change. A time in which mistakes of the past haunted me. It was a grind and there were more than a few moments in which I found myself looking for Satan because I was certain I was in hell.

Those moments lasted a lifetime and though I knew I would survive it was painful. I never expected that my life would feel like the script for bad reality television or a failed sitcom.

But here we are at the verge of the new year. Almost standing on the precipice there is no doubt the 2010 will be the Year of Jack because I will accept nothing less.

2009 has been awful because it marks the culmination of a series of mistakes. I take responsibility for quite a few. I won't list them here but trust me I own them. I have punished myself for some of them and been punished for others.

It reminds me of my high school math teacher who would work out math problems and then finish with an exclamation, "so what!" It was his way of trying to prompt a discussion. A chance to ask what the significance of it all was.

This is my "So what." Shit happened. I accept responsibility for that which I did and I am pissed for that which I didn't do. But it doesn't fix the challenges I face. "So what" is the call to action. It is the time to remind myself that mistakes are opportunities.

I tell that to the kids all the time. Mistakes are opportunities. Step back, take a deep breath and figure out what you can do with it.

That is what I am trying to do. I am surveying the scene and trying to see what I can make of it. No one is going to save me. There is no cavalry coming to my rescue. It is my job, my obligation. Not because of anything other than I owe it to myself.

I worked too damn hard to let some of these things slip away.

Mistakes are opportunities. It is a conversation that occurs over Legos. Little Jack loves them, plays with them. Loves doing Sudoku and math. Finds all of that stimulating. I like playing with Legos, the others not so much.

But I love the opportunity to sit with him. I love working with my hands and helping him learn how to do it too. I love seeing him gain an appreciation and understanding of what it means to do this. My kids know what it means to get their hands dirty. I won't tolerate them thinking that they need servants.

Mistakes are opportunities. That Lego spaceship isn't working because we made a mistake. It is an opportunity to learn how to avoid making that mistake and a chance to see if we can figure out an alternative way to build it.

Turn the problem upside down, take it outside, find a new perspective. It is an opportunity.

Now if I can remember to heed my own advice....

2010- The Year of Jack


bernthis said...

I had to stumble this one. You read my mind to a "t". this yr has been pure hell for me, the last 5 have and you r right "So what" I just love your mindset. Your kid has a great dad. I have asked myself so often the last few years: "what did I do to deserve this?" I cleaned up my side of the street, made amends but the loss continued. Well, I've been fighting losing any more and will continue to do so. Thanks for the inspiration

Brian said...

You are indeed right...mistakes are the field in which learning takes place.

I hope the new year brings you peace and resolution.

Jack said...


My kids have a crazy dad who is more neurotic than he should be. But, on the days when crazy takes a vacation I remember that there are ways to get beyond the crap.

It is hard when you "clean up your side of the street" and find that you still get kicked.

But the only thing I know how to do is to keep fighting.

Hi Brian,

It is always good to see you round these parts. You're an elder statesman of the blogosphere now. 2010 is the Year of Jack, it is going to be better.