Making Mistakes is Hard on Anyone, Admitting it is Harder

It’s always so hard when you make a mistake. You feel crappy, you wish it didn’t happen and then in the best case, you think about why it went wrong, learn from it and pick youself back up. That is if it is a private mistake that affects only yourself and no one even has to know. Having to admit that you messed something up to someone else is worse. You wait for their judgement on you, their anger, disappointment.

Having a child who is timid to try new things, I learned to be forgiving of mistakes (or at least try to). We frame mistakes as opportunities to learn and become better. He says he feels stupid when he makes mistakes and I would tell him, the only stupid person is someone who doesn’t learn from their mistakes. Then we think about how we will prevent the same mistake from happening again. Inevitably, it will happen because old habits die hard or we forget but after repetition, we will hopefully emerge the better for it.

We’ve also read about the mistakes and failures that famous scientists make. Did you know that Edison invented a voice activated sewing machine? It needed someone to bellow long and loud while sewing for it to work. Among the many brilliant inventions that scientists have are many more that simply did not work. It’s not easy to be resillient in face of failure but I think it is the one gift I would like to bestow on my child.

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