Kids, failure is just another item on a Startup Nation checklist

“This is an important night for the State of Israel, its citizens and young people. We see what we can do when we want and try. We are full of admiration for the wonderful people who got a spacecraft to the moon. True, not as we hoped, but we will get there, in the end.”

President Reuven Rivlin

The thing about moon shots is… they are moon shots. Startup Nation runs on moon shots. In medicine, in security, in hi tech, and on the moon. Or, just a few kilometers off the surface of it, as the case may be tonight.

We watched the #IsraeltotheMoon landing, celebrated with the Space IL and Beresheet crew.

We had moon cookies!

And my kids watched live as the control room went from excited to concerned. And then they had to confront the discomfort of their own concern. So did I. Live. And when Beresheet failed to land properly, I was sad to see all three of us consume failure.

“Why do we always fail at this?”

“Huh? What, you mean… Ilan Ramon?”

“No right now – they kept saying it didn’t work.”

But that’s failure, dears. That’s how you become great. You work your ass off and make mistakes – and dust off and keep going. Every mistake is a ruled-out conclusion. Every failure is a tougher skin. We don’t get to access that kind of experience enough in our padded lives. So it’s sad to watch this, and see the faces of the crew, and the backer, and the prime minister, but these adults in the room who know well enough knew to stand up and say great job – here’s to next time!

And President Rivlin, probably the only unilaterally pride-inducing leader in our government at the moment, spoke directly to the school children he hosted at the president’s residence, and gently told them not to be disappointed by what didn’t happen. But to focus on what did – we are the 7th country to orbit the moon! And nearly the fourth to land! Isn’t that worth something kids?

And after we had shut off the live feed, wrapped up the moon cookies, and moved on, my daughter echoed her president and turned to me and said, “But at least we got there.”

We’re a country that gets there, eventually.

We’re a country where on the day of the nation’s first moon landing, the airport website includes ‘moon’ in its arrivals/departures listing.

We’re a country where a diverse control room is unified 48 hours after an intense election period screeched to a halt, to watch and announce and guide us all into a historic national moment.

We’re a country that collectively geeks out over space shit. A lot.

And we’re a country that will do it again.

So even though it feels disappointing, and some of the people look sad… this is what we do. We make the next plans, take the next steps, make jokes #toosoon, and when there’s dead airtime that needs to be filled – our National Saba sings Hatikvah…

Beresheet is just the beginning.

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