You can only go up from here

By Ben Eyman

I often carry my phone all around my house while I do everything. Recently, I was working on starting a load of laundry and during this particular time I was watching Christopher Nolan’s 2005 drama Batman Begins. It follows the upbringing of Bruce Wayne and is a pretty powerful movie. As I watched the movie, I picked up on something: Bruce fails a lot. But as he soon learns in the movie, it is okay to  fail.

When I tried to find an impressive quote or something motivational to add to this letter, I really couldn’t think of one, except for a line uttered by Bruce’s father from a scene in the movie. In the scene, a young Bruce falls into a well and is scared by a flock of bats that fly up. Before long his father, Thomas Wayne, repels down the well to save him. Although Bruce is shaken and lightly injured, he is pulled up by his father, who then delivers an important line on the nature of failure.

“Why do we fall, Bruce?” Thomas asks while carrying his son back into the manor. “So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

It’s a pretty powerful quote and it’s one that, when I first saw the movie almost seven years ago, really stuck with me. Later on in the movie, after Bruce and his butler Alfred barely escape an explosion, Bruce talks about how he has failed Gotham. However, Alfred does not let Bruce succumb to his failure and uses the same line to pick Bruce back up again.

The reason that I have been thinking about the nature of failure is that, over the past few months, I felt like I have failed on several occasions, and not just in small areas like failing to move my washing load into the dryer. I also have failed on big things outside of school, like failing to get everything I needed prepared for my Order of the Arrow (Scouting’s National Honor Society) budget meeting. I completely made a fool out of myself in front of some of the best youth in the state that OA has to offer.

But what making a fool out of myself has taught me is that I can only move up from failure. I fell to learn that I can stand again.

So, if you’re stressed out because you failed that last math test, or because you didn’t take the trash out before you left for the soccer game, know that it will all be okay in the end. You fell, but because of that failure you now know how to get back up again. Speaking of washing, I forgot to start the dryer again…