Like a lot of young boys growing up, I had a healthy fascination with all things rockets and explosions. This interest was much to the dismay of my parents, especially when unsanctioned experiments went wrong from time to time… I am fearful but also pleased that my eldest son William seems to have inherited the same interest in things that can fly and/or explode.

Like many of us at PCS, William has been inspired by the recent test launches of Mr Wynstra’s Year 7 rockets. It was an incredible sight to see student-designed two-stage rockets fire hundreds of metres into the air and safely land; well most of them anyway! So, on the long weekend, William took a bold step into the unknown by testing his first fully-functioning prototype rocket. With a cardboard exterior, paper fins and loaded with an assortment of mum’s finest tea bags for fuel cells, what could go wrong?!

The scene was set; rocket on the launchpad, two little brothers a safe distance outside the blast radius and Mum and Grandma in the viewing stands. The countdown began, fuse (tea bag string) lit and the wait was over. As sure as day, the tea bags failed to fire, however the rocket itself burned quite nicely! The problem was that as spectacular as the flames were, the rocket failed to launch and burned to a crisp on the launchpad. I’m not sure we can even classify it as a crash and burn; probably just a burn. The look on William’s face was an interesting mix of disappointment and satisfaction. Like me as a young lad, as long as something exploded or burned, there was definitely an element of success.

In moments of failure, what is our response? There is always a choice to be made between discouragement and perseverance. It is so easy to go to a place of discouragement when things don’t work out how we planned. For our students, discouragement can be a daily occurance if we aren’t careful. Whether it is a troubling mathematical concept, a frustrating musical skill or a complex peer relationship, failure is part and parcel of daily life. The message to our students and to all of us is that failure is ok; it is what we do as a response that counts.

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Jesus doesn’t call us to be perfect, but rather calls us to see our weaknesses and failures as opportunities to grow in strength of character, rely on Him and ultimately bring glory to God; to learn that God is our source of strength, purpose and peace.

We don’t call our students at PCS to be perfect, in fact we challenge our students to take risks and make mistakes. The learning happens in the struggle and we love a good struggle! As parents and adults, how do we view our own failures? Are they a direct path to discouragement or are they yet another opportunity to press in to keep growing into men and women of the highest character? As teachers and parents, how we model dealing with failure and disappointment is going to be the biggest determiner into how our children do. The Westcott Junior Rocket Program has hit a significant hurdle, no doubt, but you can be sure that version 2.0 will be bigger, better AND have a non-flammable exterior!

Have a great week everyone,
Glen