Thursday, December 25, 2014
During a recent search for a new career, this handsome philosopher never once allowed disappointment or consecutive near misses or the perplexities of corporate America to daunt him.
You're winning because you never lose hope, I would tell him.
I'm doing what I have to do, he'd say.
One day, texting the words above, he also wrote this:
"I've come up with this motto," he said. "And I plan to live by it."
This year at Penn (a coincidence) I'm teaching failure memoirs. As I prepare for the class, reading, say, Charles Blow and Daniel Menaker and Gary Shteyngart, I'm looking back at my son's live-by-them words and thinking about how implicit that lesson is in each story I read—and how it applies to us all.
We had our son's motto carved into cherry wood and framed for Christmas (my husband's design). It's not a new car, a new suit, a new electronic device, even. But it seemed the biggest gift we could give. Our son's intelligence reflected back at him.