Learning important life lessons
My mother told me I started reading at the age of 4. She also told me that I asked a lot of questions. For those of you that remember the Encyclopedia Britannica from the ‘60s, well that was my Bible. If I had a question, I looked it up. If I wanted to make something, I looked it up. Every child totally used the Encyclopedia Britannica to learn how to make lemonade for their lemonade stand in the late ‘80s right? I know, I know. Wrong. I was a “special” kid, who was eager to create and learn.
I grew up watching “Captain Noah,” “Reading Rainbow,” “Mister Rodgers” and “Gilligan’s Island.” I know the last one doesn’t make sense, but I was always obsessed with how the crew could never leave the island but always had visitors. I’m telling you this because I need you to understand how I got to where I am today and why I am mentioning these parts of my life.
“Captain Noah” taught me the colors of the rainbow, he also taught me failure because my artwork never made it to his show. Last month I said to my mother, “Well my artwork wasn’t good enough for ‘Captain Noah,’ but it made it on the sides of Lincoln Financial field so…” and she just stared at me. She literally couldn’t believe that that angry five-year-old was still living inside my 38-year-old body. She also admitted she never sent my pictures to “Captain Noah.” I overcame disappointment though small; it was big to me as a child. I honestly feel better knowing that I can now sing a rainbow too and not feel so disappointed in my 5-year-old renders.
Every aspect of life teaches us a lesson.
The lesson here is that my pictures never made the show, but that didn’t stop me from drawing. If anything, it pushed me to work harder and keep creating. Though my mom meant no harm she was the unknown variable to overcome. There is always something standing in the way and pushing through is what teaches us to persevere.
A few days ago, I was on a conference call for work with a guest speaker. He was speaking to us about the creative process. To explain further he said failure is part of the learning process, if we don’t fail, we don’t learn.
When I fail, I learn that I don’t want to do something a certain way. But instead of focusing on the failure, I need to focus on the process. There is an actual process to failing and succeeding, and we don’t see it when we are wrapped up in getting a result. We are unaware on how we actually go through the process. So, the process of failure leads to success … and my mind was blown.
The way I took the whole, failure is part of your growth process, made me dizzy. As an adult, wife and working mother I feel it’s important for me to share. Through the course of the uncertainty of this year I failed a lot. I put my work to the side to educate my children and thought I was failing at my professional career. I didn’t see was how I was learning patience through reworking my schedule and spending quality time with my children. My creative process has changed immensely. My failures have become part of my routine. I also learned to pick my pencil back up and sketch out things when I can’t articulate what I want to do. Sometimes I even hop on Pinterest and create a board of visuals that help inspire me to create something great. I must admit Pinterest is very dangerous because in minutes of art appreciation you can get wrapped up into how to make the perfect chocolate souffle.
I hope you read this and think about your failures and look back at the process. I promise you it does help you understand how to get to where you need to be. Also, never let go of your inner child, unlocking that part of you may lead to something great.
For those of you have reached out to me, please keep on sharing—I love to hear from you. Please continue to connect here once a month in The Gazette.
Loraine Griffiths is a fifth-generation Hammontonian, graphic designer, wife and mother of three. She can be reached through email at LifeWithLoraine@gmail.com.