In his essay, “Falling Down Is Part of Growing up”, Henry Petroski explains how all humans experience failure throughout their lives. The author compares nursery rhymes with the evolution of the human body and how they evolve as they grow older. He also describes how kids don’t realize the purpose or the meaning of things, but as they grow older, they realize the purpose of things and life in general. He also explains how failure is part of life and the inspiration of great innovations. Henry emphases how past failures in life are the reason for future success.
Like the author, when I was a little kid, I didn’t know the meaning of things and their purpose. My parent used to read me a lot of stories, even though I didn’t understand their meaning. As a kid you are so innocent to understand the purpose of things in your life. My parents were teaching me things I didn’t understand to prepare me for my future. As I grew up I was able to realize the purpose and the meaning of things in my life. I was able to understand the meaning of the stories my parents used to read me when I was a little kid. Over the years I realized that I was able to search and understand the purpose of things in my life that I never knew before. I was capable of accepting failure knowing that better results will follow no matter how many times I fail.
Growing up I had a strict parent that valued education and good behavior above anything else. My parent moved to Kenya a few years after my birth because of the conflict in our homeland. The purpose of the move to Kenya was to give me and my siblings the best chance for a better future by giving me an education and a safe place to live. Even though I was a little kid and couldn’t attend school, my mom would take me every day to her school, which was for adults and moms with young children. In her school, there was a room where all the children played while their parents were learning and I would always get in trouble with the lady who cared for the children because of my behavior of fighting with other kids and breaking the toys.
When I started attending kindgerdan which they call primary school in Kenya, student did some of the things elementary school students do in America. At first, everything was hard because of the language barrier. It was important for the students to speak in Swahili to understand the teacher and the assignments. Since my parents didn’t speak Swahili, I was not able to get the help I need to finish my assignments and learn the language very quickly. The only time I spoke Swahili was in school and when I am at home or playing with friends I would speak in Somali and that made it difficult for me to learn the language. Even though I was having a language issue was able to overcome my failures and get good grades during this time . Although it was challenging my parents encouraged me to work hard and even asked my Kenyan neighbors to help me with my homework. All of sudden I was able to understand my teachers better and even help my parents when they need to communicate with Swahili speaking people.
For the next few years I was able to go through primary school with ease. When I started 5th grade everything was getting difficult. Everything was getting difficult in and outside of school and that was taking its toll on my education. My parents were having issues with authorities because the government doesn’t allow people without Kenyan identity cards to live in the capital city. Even though my parents tried their best to shield me from the difficulties they were experience with their residence status, my grades suffered.
I started not to care about anything especially school and I developed a deep dislike of the Kenyan police because I saw them as the enemy that wants to destroy my life. In Kenya the police are corrupt and they would harass my family and threated us with arrest if we don’t pay bribe money to them. With the challenges we faced daily in Kenya, me and my family decided that it was in our best interest to move out of Kenya and find a place that it safe and more welcoming than Kenya.
After a lot of consideration family and I decided to move to Ethiopia which was a country we heard a lot of good things about even though I knew there may be hostility against us. For the past few decades there was political hostility between Somalia and Ethiopia and my family and I took that into consideration. By the time we moved to Ethiopia my father was in the U.S and he was helping us financially and that was something we didn’t have before.
We also had some relatives that would be helping us to settle down in the capital city Adidas Ababa. The move to Ethiopia meant that I had to learn another language which was even harder than Swahili. Since my father was in the U.S my family and I were in the process of moving and reuniting our family in the U.S. for this reason I didn’t attend a formal school instead I started going to a local religious school. Since I wasn’t attending a public school I only needed to learn the basic Amharic to communicate with the natives. Everything was easier than I thought at the beginning, but as time went on things got difficult for me.
Although everything was easy and peaceful at the beginning, life got little complicated and challenging as time passed. While everyone in my family was so excited to learn everything about our new city but I was so excited. Started to dislike the weather and almost everything about the city especially the neighborhood I lived in. I got the feeling that the citizens didn’t want us in their city because of our nationality. One of the biggest things that cause me to hate living in the Addis Ababa was the fact the Ethiopians would harass me for no reason. Whenever I go out to play soccer, older Ethiopian teenagers would come to soccer field and they would search our bags for money.
Since they were older than me there was nothing I could have done to stop them from stealing my money. The worst thing about the experience was that if I tried to defend myself against that kids same age as me the adult would get involve. They would take the side of the Ethiopian instead of stopping that fight between me and the Ethiopian kid. The Ethiopian citizens in Addis Ababa were united on their hate against foreigners especially people with Somali decent. With all the hardship and failures I experienced in Ethiopia I was able to not let those things get to me because if I did I wouldn’t be able to survive the life in Addis Ababa.
After a few year in Ethiopia. My family and I were accepted to move to the United States to reunite with my father. After all the hardships and failures I faced while I was living in Kenya and Ethiopia, I was hoping for a fresh start when I moved to the U.S, but rather it was another phase of my long struggle. There was no place where this struggle was more real than school. During this time whenever I walked through the school hallway, I felt like I was not even there and everyone I met looked at me in a way that made me regret my decision to come to America. Some people in my school were very welcoming and open-minded, but the majority of them were not welcoming. Because of the feeling of being unwelcomed, I wasn’t able to integrate into school as soon as I was expected to by my instructor and that opened the door for failure.
In conclusion, I was able to learn that failures and challenges are part of life and no matter what you do you wouldn’t be able to escape it. Even if I leave the place where I was experiencing the difficulties and move to another place, still there will be another challenge waiting for me in my new place. Failures are lessons that would help you not to make the same mistake again.