Sunday, June 12, 2016

Mistakes Make Us Human

Recently I was able to enjoy some time home with my family after what had been a brutal stretch on the road speaking and presenting. My wonderful wife had been holding the fort down in my absence so I was ready and willing to help her out in any way that I could. Thus, she asked if I could take our daughter to cheer practice the entire week and I immediately obliged. Now, being a cheer dad is serious business and those of you reading this who are in a similar position know what I am talking about. 

My wife laid out specific instructions repeatedly as to what I had to do during the Thursday practice as my daughter had a flyer and tumbling class back to back. For the flyer class she needed these special stretch bands that were in the glove compartment of the car. Not only did I have to remember to get them out of the glove compartment, but I also had to remind my daughter to give them back to me after the practice because apparently she has a tendency herself to leave them around the gym. This should be a piece of cake.

A few days later my wife asked me if I had gotten the elastic bands back from my daughter after the practice. I immediately looked perplexed.  I knew that she used them during practice as I distinctly remembered taking them out of the glove compartment of the car and my daughter and I proceeded to shoot them at each other like rubber bands. The problem though was that that was the last I saw of them. After conferring with my daughter later that day, I did in fact forget to remind her to give them to me after practice. My wife just shook her head with a smirk and nicely reminded me how many times I was told what to do.  Alas, I made yet another mistake.

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I make mistakes all the time and have since birth. To be honest, I have made so many mistakes during my lifetime and will continue to do so. Everyone makes them. This does not make me, or virtually anyone else on this planet, a bad person as we all succumb to this. Many mistakes we make both professionally and personally are not part of some larger agenda. Sometimes it is because we don’t listen or fully process what we heard. At other times there is a lapse of judgment or lack of understanding, context, or the entire story. Many times mistakes just happen with no rhyme or reason. This is all a part of being human. Admitting, learning from, and moving on after a mistake is made is all that matters. Some of the best learning experiences I have carried with me for years have occurred after a mistake was made. Own your mistakes, but don't let them own you!

Being human and making mistakes is not a reason to attack, berate, chastise, ignore, give up, or treat other adults or students differently.  It perplexes me to this day how anyone can hold a grudge against someone who makes a mistake. Chances are that very same person has made his or her share of them. This is hypocritical to say the least. Students deserve the most slack when a mistake is made. How one reacts could very well determine their willingness to learn in the future. When it comes to adults, take the time to make the other person aware of his/her mistake and provide practical advice on how to overcome and learn from it. Most importantly, if the mistake is significant provide the needed support and be there. Ultimately this speaks volumes about one’s character. 


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  2. LOL. I do agree that mistakes are learning experiences. Doing it for your daughter doesn’t seem to be working! She’s not taking responsibility, and your ownership of the ‘mistake’ wont help :)

    1. I disagree. She is a kid and made a simple mistake. We then talked about it so she could learn and take more responsibility going forward. I would like to think that taking a proactive approach by having my daughter learn from the experience will help her more in the long run as as a means to take ownership.

  3. While I agree with what you have written, in my role, I feel like people are watching and are just ACHING for me to make a mistake. I don't know what it is. I think the dynamics that union politics has created in my school board has causes an adversarial, "us and them" mentality and there is no longer any respect for the role of the school administrator. I'm happy to make mistakes, it's the only way I have learned to do my job better. Instead, others would regard mistakes as a sign of weakness and when assistance is needed to recover from the aftermath of a teacher error, union reps are called and administrators come under the gun for not being supportive enough. Ugh...