The Face of Rejection (updated)

Most adults, including myself, have the same fears: fear of public speaking, fear of rejection, fear of failure, etc.

I'm not sure how and why it happens. Recently, I've noticed that my son is beginning to lose some of his fearlessness. The ability to go up to anyone and ask anything without fear of rejection.

Not sure if this is some biological instinct that gets triggered at the age of 10. Maybe it's an instinct to be careful of adults because 10,000 years ago another male adult would have taken your bison meat and stolen your wife. Again, I'm not sure.

But, what I am sure, is that I don't want my kids growing up fearing rejection and failure.

So I devised a little experiment to teach my son about rejection. Something I'm too scared to do myself. Obviously, because I don't want someone to take my bison meat and steal my wife.

I took my son for a walk around the cafes in Fulham and told him to go up to random people that he found interesting and ask them to take their portraits. His initial reaction was, "No way!" I asked, "What's the worst that could happen?" He replied, "They can say no." We discussed this possibility and agreed that that wasn't a big deal.

We agreed to a script: Hello sir/madam! Do you mind if I take your portrait for a project I'm doing?

At least they were alive and in person. Next, I told him that he needs to take pictures of people he doesn't know and he must get up close and personal. I showed him how by taking his portrait.


He went around and asked eight people to take their portraits. Four happily agreed and four said no. When he came back, I asked him how it felt to be rejected. He said, "It was no big deal."

We went out a couple of days later to take some more pictures. We repeated the same experiment. The only thing we added was they needed to ask the person they were photographing for their name and a piece of advice.


After Yusuf didn't want to take any more pictures,  Sulafa was taking some random pictures of flowers and a father and daughter asked her to take their portrait. We rushed to the local print store and printed them a copy of the photograph.