What Happens After You Fall Down?

Two of my girls had a dance competition this weekend, it went well overall but during one of the dances of my middle daughter, she fell. There is a part where all of the girls do an aerial. No, not the Little Mermaid, it is cartwheel without putting your hands down. She has done it hundreds of times, and many times already on stage in this dance. When she did it this time unfortunately she fell down. It happens. After the dance there were tears and hugs from her teammates, everyone trying to find the right words to make her feel better. She was upset because she thought that she had let her team down. That wasn't letting her team down. Letting your team down is not showing up on time, giving it your best. Falling down just happens sometimes.

We all are going to fall down in our lives, multiple times. Not just physical falling down, but emotionally, spiritually or psychologically. Sometimes when we fall down it is in public. We’ve probably all had at least one moment where we’ve felt embarrassed, everyone is watching. Our only wish is that we can just run off the stage and hide, praying that nobody noticed but knowing many people did. When she came up to see me after she was unmistakably upset. It was one of those moments that you know as a parent you have an opportunity to speak words into her life that will build her character. I simply told her that there are going to be times in our life where we fall down, what matters isn’t the fact that you fall, it is matter of what you do after you fall down. How we react to adversity is everything in life.

Well, this competition has a unique aspect to it in which select entries are chosen to come back and compete in an entertainment encore performance. Knowing this I told my wife that I hoped her routine got picked because what a great opportunity for her to regain some confidence. So of course her team got picked. You could tell something was different this time around though. She performed better overall, the energy was just higher, there was a determination and fierceness to her dancing. As it built up to the same part she fell in the first time, my heart rate increased, I held my breath and said a quick prayer. She landed it, not her greatest one ever, but she landed it and found out that there is always a second chance in life. (A fun bonus lesson, that routine where she fell, where the routine wasn't perfect, still won first place overall too. You don't have to be perfect to succeed.)

You have to remember that when you push yourself to try new things or expand your skill set, it takes time to get it. If she didn’t want to fall she could have decided to not dance. She could have decided to not learn to do an aerial. I have never fallen trying to land an aerial, but I’ve also never attempted one. As Wayne Gretzke said, you miss 100% of the shots you never take. She took a shot, yep she missed. But she got back out there and did it again. She is 11, the fact she can do it at all I think is amazing, especially when I think of where her life started. This isn't the first time that she fell down and got back up again. Hopefully she remembers that moment to realize that the fall doesn't define her, it is what happens after the fall that matters. We learn far more from our mistakes than from our successes. So you fell down, what now? What comes next, your attitude, your actions, that determines who you are in life.


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