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Friday, October 9, 2009

When Experiments Fail

...or, at best, don't work quite as well as expected.

If you've experienced the joy of watching Discover & Do, you may remember the many Outtakes included at the end of the DVD. (Aside: If you have the DVD but haven't watched the Outtakes, I highly recommend them. Of course, I cut them together, so I'm a little biased <smile>) These Outtakes were moments from shooting when things didn't quite work.

Sometimes the "fail" was epic.

Like the time the seeds we were using for the experiment titled "Grow, Grow, Grow!" never grew at all. Or when the invisible ink didn't come back. Makes it a little hard to demonstrate the activity when the very foundation of the lesson falls out from under you.


Trap Door

But while these failed experiments can make you feel like you're falling through space, there are important lessons to be learned. Stuff doesn't always work out the way you would hope. You can do things wrong. Mistakes happen. And sometimes, life just doesn't go the way you expected.

And that's okay.

The important thing is to move on. Don't let yourself stay in the place of "failure". Instead, get up, try again, or move on.

That's a lesson we need to remember as adults as well: If something isn't working--even failing--don't let yourself stay there. Set it aside for a while, try it again after you've thought about why it didn't work, or move on to the next thing. There are too many great opportunities in life--and homeschooling--to let the things that aren't quite working stop us.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

11 comments:

TexasHeather said...

This is so true. Sometimes, things don't work. That means, try something new, not give up and never try again. And not, keep doing it that way, even though it's not working.

So often we're afraid to talk about our failures, but it helps everyone when one admits to something like that. Then we know we aren't alone!

Glad you included outtakes on the Discover & Do dvd, so we all know that -gasp- even the pros sometimes don't get the experiment right! -smile-

se7en said...

Not to take away from your thought provoking comment... We love the outtakes, first thing we look at on box-day!!! Seriously, I am so glad they are there - they make science so real!!! Life doesn't always go as planned! Not to mention we also have had massive crop failure and relied on the dvd to carry us through!!! One time all our seeds arrived wriggling and writhing with weevils - we had a great microscope unit study, but not quite the intended lesson!!!

danabbey said...

dude, my son and i love the outtakes! funny you mention this as it wasn't long ago we were watching the outtakes and i noticed you in one scene sitting on top of the kitchen counter where all the postulations are made and demoed. i remarked to my wife: "that's luke holzmann, the sonlight blog guy!" so it was kinda strange but nice to see you on our TV screen:) but hey, include more of these. my fave? when you guys are in the garden just laughing your heads off. i always enjoy contagious laughter!

and as for the actual point of your post - failure is good, i agree. how else do we ever change and grow as human beings? i recently failed at pursuing a business; it hurts financially and it's not good for the mind either. but you know what? i'm quite happy to have failed. coz at least i tried and have something to tell the grandkids ;)

John Umland said...

As the scientist in the family, my job is to teach math and science to the kids. When science experiments fail, i get excited because that's my reality at work.
God is good
jpu

Mrs. C said...

I love your pics, Luke. They are wonderfully simplistic but convey all you need to say. You should make a card line. :]

Luke said...

Heather, very true. Too often fear plays into these things, and it really shouldn't. Always glad to prove that things aren't all rosy/perfect for us professionals <smile>.

Se7en, so glad to hear that the Outtakes are encouraging and that the DVDs have been so helpful <smile>. Good stuff!

Dan, yep, I show up now again in the DVDs I produce. <smile> Glad your family is getting a kick out of them! As for life "failures" that are more like learning opportunities... I have a very similar tale of a business I tried to start. Learned a ton.

John, awesome! And, yes: Failed experiments are large part of the process <smile>.

Mrs. C, hmm... that's a good point! Maybe someday I'll try my hands at card making <smile>. For now, my images are free for viewing on the interwebs <laughing>. Thanks for telling me you like my images. Sometimes I feel like I'm totally lame when I make them. Glad they are enjoyable despite that! <smile>

~Luke

Sarah said...

Hey, Luke! Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! It really shows good customer relations when companies do the little things I've seen Sonlight do so far.

I am so impressed with the business side of this curriculum! This last few days, from perusing the website to ordering, to receiving and enjoying our first few days of preschool, I keep telling my husband how much I love Sonlight (all its facets)!

Thanks again, Luke. You guys keep up the exceptional work. It's refreshing!

Ann said...

This is so fitting for our experiments of late - God has smacked me upside the head with quite a few lessons from the experimental failures or delays. I keep wanting to step in and make things work, and He's been reminding me that I do that in my daily life. Time to back off and let things happen, even if they are slow!! I just love the way He patiently teaches us, even through science experiments gone wacky! :-)

Luke said...

Thanks so much, Sarah! And I'm honored to be a part of the blogosphere <smile>.

Ann, that is super encouraging! May your learning continue to be a joy, despite the failures.

~Luke

Butter said...

You know, that's why I like Discover and Do. You made sure all the experiments worked and ours, well, don't always.

Luke said...

We certainly did our best with Discover & Do. And I'm really glad we went through it all so others wouldn't have the same hassle <smile>.

~Luke


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