A Lesson In Trying Again

READ A BOOK

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat. It’s about time we find out what happened to Humpty after his great fall. At first it’s not pretty, but we learn along with the famous egg that good things happen to those who keep on trying. This cracked character becomes the poster child for having a growth mindset and becoming all he was created to be. 

Santat, Dan. After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again. Lothian Children’s Books, 2017.

You can find this book at your local library, independent book seller, OR purchase it from….

MAKE A FAITH CONNECTION

  1. Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall. He gets hurt.
    1. How does it feel when you fall down?
    2. Who has helped you after a fall? – all the king’s horses and all the king’s men?
  1. We can fall with our bodies, but there are other ways to fall too. Sometimes we fall by doing something we wish we hadn’t done. Sometimes we fall by making a mistake. Sometimes we fall when we aren’t able to do something we want to do.
    • What is a time you “fell” in another way (not with your body)?
    • How did you feel?
  1. Humpty Dumpty is afraid to climb back on the wall. He says, “Accidents happen.”
    • Did any of your falls, body falls or other kinds of falls, make you afraid to try again?
    • What does Humpty Dumpty miss out on because he is afraid to climb the wall again?
  1. Humpty Dumpty tries and tries and tries again to make a good paper airplane.
    • What is something you had to try again and again until you did it well?
  1. Humpty Dumpty is afraid but he does climb up to the top of the wall to get his airplane. He keeps climbing, “one step at a time.” Sometimes when we’re afraid to do something, or after we make a mistake, we need to try again, even though we feel afraid.
    • What happens when Humpty gets to the top of the wall? (He’s not afraid anymore. He wants to be thought of as the “egg who got back up.”)
  1. Just like Humpty, we can be the ones who “got back up”. Our mistakes always teach us something. Often our mistakes teach us just what we need to know to succeed.
    • Tell me about a mistake you’ve made or a time you couldn’t do something. What did you learn from your mistake.
  2. In the end, Humpty hatches! He becomes a bird and flies away! The “egg that got back up” becomes a bird that can fly. Humpty becomes exactly what he is supposed to be. He becomes the creature God made him to be. We are meant to become what God created us to be too. I am meant to become my best self. You are meant to become your best self. To become our best selves, we have to make a lot of mistakes and learn from them. To become our best selves, we have to be like Humpty and get back up to try again.

HAVE SOME FUN
Build a Humpty Dumpty Wall
Materials needed:  paper cups (package of 50 or so depending on how many people will make a wall); a rock that is about the size of the bottom of a paper cup; a permanent marker to make a face on your Humpty rock (more colors are optional).
Directions:

  1. Draw a Humpty Dumpty face on your rock. You can use other colors to decorate him if you like.
  2. Choose a clear spot on the floor away from any house walls in which to build your wall.
  3. Use the cups, anyway you would like, to build a wall as high as you can. You may have to try and try and try again to build a wall as high as you would like. You will learn to be an expert wall builder!
  4. After you get your wall as high as you can, put your Humpty Dumpty on the top of the highest cup.
  5. If your wall falls down, you have to start all over again. That’s how we become “eggs who get back up”!
  6. When you have a tall wall and Humpty is sitting on top of it, take a picture of your wall.
  7. You can print the picture and hang it up somewhere to remind you that to be your best self, you have to keep trying. That’s how we learn and grow!

SHARE A PRAYER
Dear Lord,
Thank you for making all the creatures in the world.
Thank you for making eggs that hatch into birds,
and for making people
who can climb and think and feel and learn,
just like I can.
Sometimes I get hurt when I fall down.I feel hurt when I make a mistake.
I feel bad when I do something I shouldn’t have done.
And I get frustrated when I can’t do something as well as I wish I could.
Sometimes, if I think of you quietly
that’s when I can feel your love the most,
because you want me to feel better.
I can always get back up again.
I can try again and again and again
because that’s how I learn and grow.
Help me not to give up when something is hard.
Help me to become the person you created me to be.
Help me to become my best self.
Amen.

EXPLORE SOME MORE
Further Reflection

We want our children to have a growth mindset. People who have a growth mindset see failure as part of the learning process. They believe that they can grow their abilities and intelligence. When they can’t do something, they think, “I can’t do it yet,” not, “I’ll never be able to do this.” People who tend toward a fixed mindset think that their ability, characteristics, and intelligence are fixed. They think that failure means they have hit the limit of their capability and the task is something they won’t ever be able to accomplish. They often take setbacks very personally, believing that a “fall” means they are unworthy of success in that area. They sometimes shrink back from challenges because failure becomes something to avoid at all costs. This can keep us from becoming all that God made us to be. We can wish that failure didn’t have to be part of the process, but it almost always is. Just ask Adam and Eve, who also had a fall.

We want our children to try and try and try again just like Humpty and be the “egg who got back up again”. That is the way to become all that God made us to be. Making mistakes is part of the learning process.  Any famous scientist, or actually anyone who is successful at any challenging endeavor will tell you that. They all seem to have fantastic failure stories. In fact, failure is an essential part of the scientific method itself.

 There is lots of good material online about helping children develop a growth mindset. It helps to praise children for effort, not for attributes like being smart. We can say, “It’s great that you keep on getting up on that bike and trying again. You get better each time.” One of the simplest tools I can almost always remember to use is the phrase, not yet. “Yes, Humpty, you have not YET been able to climb that wall again. What might help?” “No, you haven’t YET made a successful airplane. But each one you make gets better and better. What could you try next?” Strategies like these almost always lead to, “Yes, Humpty! You did it! Now you can fly!” 

Relevant Scripture
Stories about Bible characters who failed and failed and failed again. They can give us lots of hope. Try the children’s Bible versions of the following stories:

  1. The story of Moses who made a bunch of excuses when God asked him to go to ask Pharaoh to free the Jewish people from slavery.

Exodus 3:5-15 and 4:1-5, 10-11
Then he failed over and over again to convince Pharaoh to let them go.

Exodus 5-11
But we know how that story ends. God’s chosen people make it across the Red Sea to freedom.

  1. The story of Paul who tried to destroy the early Church by persecuting new Christians. He had quite the turn-around experience.

Acts 8:1-3; and 9:1-19

  1. The story of Peter who denied Jesus three times before the crucifixion, yet picked his head up, kept believing, was lovingly forgiven by Jesus, and became the first Pope.

Mark 14:66-72, and John 21:15-17

Talk-it-up (Use this question to spark family conversation this week, perhaps in the car or over dinner.)
What did I need to try and try and try again today?

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