Perseverance is defined as the continued effort to do something, despite the difficulties, failure, or opposition.
I witnessed some really surprising perseverance from Mason this past weekend. Mason started hockey this weekend. Being 3, the first lesson for him is learning to stand up on skates.
He started out well on day 1. He marched out of the dressing room in the lineup with the other kids as if he was a first liner playing in the playoffs. Mason patiently waited his turn to walk into the ice. When his turn came, he managed to step onto the white sheet and started to glide. At this point, he had to be envisioning himself playing like the hockey players from “on TV” as he tried to get himself moving…
The dream must have come to an end in the moment he fell down. He sat up and started to cry. He failed. He couldn’t skate. A friendly coach noticed that he was crying and came over, cheered him up, and then picked him up so he could try again. I don’t know what the coach said to him, but he clearly had a different mindset.
He glided a bit more and fell down again. But this time, he was encouraged to try and probably get back up, with instruction, of course. Mason tried numerous times throughout the entire 45 minute practice to get his leg up while leaning on his stick to get up, but he just couldn’t figure it out enough to get up on his feet. The coaches would give him a break from it every now and again and let him pass the puck back and forth while he was on his knees. The puck seemed like Mason’s main goal. He just wanted to skate around and smack the puck. He was having a blast!
After the practice was over, we praised him for his efforts and asked him if we would come back tomorrow for the next practice. We were curious as how he felt after all of the falling down. Mason responded that he had fun and that he wanted to come back tomorrow.
On day 2 (Sunday), we were back at the rink for a second attempt at learning to get up. Once it was his turn to go on the ice, he hitched a ride on a coach’s hockey stick, which he thought was fun. It was time again. The coach started him from on his belly and got him to get himself up to his knees. So far, so good. Next, was the instruction of getting his one leg up. Good, again. On the attempt to hoist himself up, however, he slipped down again. But, with every fall, he would pick himself back up and go for it again. After a several attempts, the coach decided it was time to get a puck to give Mason a break from trying to stand up.
The coach passed the puck over to where Mason was kneeling and it came to a stop about a foot ahead of him. Mason brought his leg up, seemingly concentrating on only that puck, and quickly popped right up to his two feet. His face lit up brighter than any light in that arena! The coach was pretty excited too! Mason’s proud moment was still apparent after he fell down just a second or two after he had gotten up. He knew he did it, and I guess he saw the reaction from the coach as well. I may have reacted like he had just scored a game-winning goal in a game.
Mason spent nearly two full practices on trying to get up on his feet. There was no frustration. No giving up. Just 3 year old perseverance.
It’s a great reminder that no matter what you face in life, sometimes you will fail. But failure is necessary. Failure is not the enemy, but being fearful of it is. There is no better way to learn and succeed than from failure. Failure is the stepping stone to success.
Mason definitely hasn’t mastered getting up yet, but it was step in the right direction!
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall,”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson