As a parent of a high school senior, our family is deep in the summer season of graduation – ceremonies, parties, and the constant celebration of successes. Yet what if I told you to you should also celebrate failure? What if I told you to “fail up” next time, to fail a little better? You see, success is a journey with stops of failure along the way. We have the best intentions, we set goals, we adjust the route and we stay positive and hopeful. But the journey throws us curve balls and we occasionally go down swinging.
Speaking of striking out, Babe Ruth (aka The Babe, The Great Bambino, the Sultan of the Swat himself) once said,
“Every strike out brings me closer to the next home run!” When Babe Ruth stepped away from the game of baseball in 1935, he had a lifetime total home run record of 714 a record that would stand for almost 40 years. He also had the strikeout record (1,330), which would stand for another 30 years only to be broken by another baseball great, Mickey Mantle.
In the world of foster care, we are not strangers to the curve ball. Some days we feel we were hit by the pitch – more than once. There is the slide backward after you have had progress, the relentless trauma behaviors, the court dates that change more than Wisconsin weather, or the missed/cancelled/confused visitation schedules. It seems like some sort of a fix is nowhere in sight. Yet we rise each day with the goal of striving forward. You see, failure in foster care is not when we fail to fix but when we fail to “show up.” Babe Ruth failed 1,330 times at the plate, but he also “showed up” to that plate to set the home run record of 714.
My dear foster parents, we do progress forward, we do “fail up” by doing just a little better the next day. The work you do each and every day is hard, but hard does not mean wrong or bad. Many of the greatest accomplishments we have had in this life were once hard tasks. So keep stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences, dear friend, because your home run is coming!