Permission to fail (or what Sputnik and NaNoWriMo can teach us)


Back in Episode
1 of The Geekdads
(our fledgling podcast) we had a round-table discussion on getting our kids to experiment and keep trying in our short-attention-span, perfect-the-first-time culture. No easy answers.

Then the other day I read this article regarding the fascinating back-story of the scientists that worked and launched Sputnik
– now a 50-year old event…. One section of the article really caught my eye:

Instead, the first artificial satellite in space was a spur-of-the-moment gamble driven by the dream of one scientist, whose team scrounged a rocket, slapped together a satellite and persuaded a dubious Kremlin to open the space age.

These are qualities I want in my kids – take an idea, run with it, do it on a shoestring, get enough support to try, and then DO

Of course, it’s now October – and for those that are familiar, it means less than one month to National Novel Writing Month
(NaNoWriMo) where in the course of the 30-days in November, you write a 50,000 word novel.
I did it last year – the GeekMom and Geek-kids thought I was crazy
(and I was…er…am? because I’m doing it again this year) – and for the weird looks I got from the kids, they were always asking my word-count and interested to hear how I’d written each of them into the story.

NaNoWriMo is appealing for the sheer challenge of "?can I write
50,000 words in 30-days?"  I love the constraints because you throw out the perfect-the-first-time mindset.  Trust me. 50,000 words in 30
days….most of what I wrote last year was completely horrible.  The
NaNoWriMo website backs me up
on this:

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

[emphasis mine]

There it is. Permission to fail. I’m giving it to myself and want my kids to have the same.

So, on this 50th
anniversary of the launch of
"Prosteishiy Sputnik" or the Simplest Satellite
, my reflective self wants to instill in my kids the following:

  • be creative

  • take an idea and run with it

  • do it on a shoestring

  • get enough support to try

  • and then DO

You’ve got my permission to fail – lets learn from and enjoy the process of discovery.

Liked it? Take a second to support GeekDad and GeekMom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!