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The Courage to Fail: What Every Parent Needs to Hear

Image of Mike Harper

Mike Harper

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He didn’t want to leave his cushy life. It would’ve been easy to continue his news anchor job at the TV station. He’d been there fifteen years and had a ten year plan with retirement in his sights.

But his kids were having kids. They lived a thousand miles away and the distance was both literal and figurative. He had some regrets about his parenting. But that was a long time ago and he tried to block the past.

Now it was unavoidable. Another generation was inevitable. Unless he took action, his grandchildren would never know him.

He prayed. He talked to his wife. He prayed some more. He couldn’t explain it. But there was no denying it. He had to go.

What would he do? Where would he live? How would he manage?

These were all practical questions with impractical answers. It didn’t “make sense” in the natural. It was preposterous financially. Logistically, it was a nightmare.

But it was like a magnetic pull he couldn’t fight.

So, he took a deep breath and with gnawing apprehension yet steely determination, he gave notice at his job. He said goodbye to his friends at church. He sold his home and left everything familiar to a foreign land where he knew nobody. Nobody that is, except his family, whom he hoped he could know again.

He gave up the easy to do the hard. The impossible, in fact.

Because in the end, parenting is impossible. Oh, of course it can be done, and it can be done well. Yet, anything short of perfection can haunt.

What parent of grown kids among us doesn’t look back at something we did or didn’t do and wish we could go back and fix it? There’s just way too much margin for error. Too many missed opportunities. Too many well intentioned mistakes. Too many years.

So while he couldn’t fix the past, he could start where he was. He could make that first call. He could pack that first bag.

He could still take one last flying leap at the future.



“... for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.”

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Image of Renee Baskin
Renee Baskin · ago
I know how those 1000 figurative miles feel.
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