Identity & Purpose

The Most Important Thing to Remember When You Fall

Jonathon M. Seidl

September 21, 2023 | 3 minute read

This month, we’re focusing a lot on failure. Yeah, just a light, breezy topic, right? 

So, let me take you behind the scenes a little bit. Every week, we meet as an I Am Second Editorial Team to talk about themes, topics, ideas and any insights related to what’s going on in our lives that might be beneficial for you. When we met to discuss this week’s blog, we knew it was important to talk about what it looks like to get back up after we fail, after we fall. I volunteered to write about it. 

But here’s the thing: I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to say. Sure, I had a general idea (which I’m going to share with you shortly), but I wasn’t sure how I could make that idea connect. I’m a storyteller, so I like stories. I didn’t have a story – or at least one that was recent that I felt would be relatable to many of you. 

That’s not to say I haven’t fallen recently. I have. But those examples just didn’t feel right. I wanted something really concrete. I figured it would come to me. 

Then, I started my trek to walk my kids to school this morning, and the story I was hoping for unfolded right before my eyes. 

Every morning, I get the chance to guide my kids to school. It’s become a fun and very meaningful tradition for us. Now that the weather isn’t the sun’s temperature here in Texas, my daughter and my son prefer to ride their bikes. So that’s what we’ve done for the last week or so. 

However, my son – who is five – is still learning how to ride his bike. As it stands, he’s currently using training wheels. It’s quite a sight to see him tear down the sidewalk on his Hot Wheels-themed two-wheeler (or four-wheeler, really). He’s learning to balance, and he’s also learning to stop. 

And that’s where his issues really begin. 

Stopping, I’ve observed, is a big part of learning to ride a bike. I don’t remember this from my childhood, but as I watch my son, it’s sometimes painfully obvious. Like this morning. As his little legs and feet hit a fever pitch on the pedals, we started approaching a corner. He was a junior version of every “Fast & Furious” movie. But he started panicking instead of using his brakes. As he did, his right training wheel got too close to the grass, caught the edge of the sidewalk, and he went tumbling to the side. 

I did the thing that all parents do: Instead of instantly reacting, I waited to see how he would react first. That would determine my reaction. If he started crying, I would go into comfort mode. If he got upset, I would go into calming mode. If he brushed it off as no big deal, so would I. Sound familiar?

So, which option did he choose? Much to my surprise, he chose the last one. As he pulled himself out from under his tipped-over bike and began grabbing the handles to pick it up, he said something that kinda stunned me. 

“It’s OK, daddy. Everyone falls, right? We just have to get up.”

“That’s right, buddy,” I said in awe. “We all fall. We just have to get back up.” 

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, it hit me: We all need to hear that. We all need to be reminded of that. I had my story! 

It may seem basic, but those words – “Everyone falls, right?” – are so easily forgotten. We live in an Instagram and TikTok era where everything is presented as perfect and sanitized. We “follow” people and either consciously or subconsciously think that they have the ideal life. Nothing goes wrong. They never fall. In some ways, that’s why when an athlete, celebrity, TV star or influencer stumbles, it’s big news. 

“Not them! I thought they had it all!” Some version of that soundtrack plays in our heads. 

But the truth is everyone falls. Everyone fails. It’s literally in our nature to do so. We can’t be perfect. Should we try to avoid those falls? Of course, especially the ones that are well within our power to prevent. But in reality, even then, you’re going to fall. 

The question is: What are you going to do about it? 

“We just have to get back up.”

I wondered about providing 10 practical tips for what you can do when you fall. But the interaction with my son just kept playing in my mind as I sat down to write this. And his words, the words of a five-year-old, are the most practical step we can take. 

I love how the Bible puts it: “Though I fall, I will rise again!”

Friend, the answer to falling is so simple even kids get it. When you fall, get back up. Rise again. No matter how many times. Get. Back. Up. It’s the lesson my son is learning with his bike. And it’s the lesson you and I need to be reminded of, sometimes daily.


Jonathon M. Seidl

Jonathon M. Seidl

Jonathon M. (Jon) Seidl is a writer, speaker, and digital media strategist. He’s the author of the #1 bestseller, Finding Rest: A Survivor’s Guide to Navigating the Valleys of Anxiety, Faith, and Life.

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