Thursday, September 5, 2013


Carolyn J. Rose


Recently Mike and I took a young friend to an animated movie about a snail who yearned to go fast. Like many books and movies aimed at kids, at its core were lessons about family, dreams, determination, discouragement, doubts, fears, and belief in yourself and your possibilities.

Those lessons seemed overly obvious to us, but perhaps they weren’t to kids in the audience who were caught up in the story and able to suspend disbelief.

Later, I thought about the movies of my youth and realized the same messages were there—messages about getting past ridicule, breaking out of loneliness, discovering the thing you can do and having the courage to try, again and again, to do it.

Those were all fine messages, even heroic messages. They prepared me to believe I could succeed. And the stories that contained those messages also prepared me for failure—but failure as a temporary thing, failure as a time-out before another attempt to reach the goal, not failure as the standard for the rest of my life.

The ones who failed in these movies were the characters who bullied or cheated or lied or attempted to harm the gutsy protagonist. In real life it isn’t always that way. The proof of that statement is on the nightly news and in your morning paper.

Sometimes the coyote catches the roadrunner. Often those mice don’t escape from the cartoon cat. Most of the time a snail wouldn’t win the big race.

But the lessons remain. You may not cross the finish line first. You may not cross it at all. But if you don’t get out there on the track, you’ll never know.

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