Things I Want My Son To Know #14 ~ Learn From Your Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. You are a bit of a perfectionist; from the time you were very little you never wanted to do anything until or unless you could do it very well (dare I say perfectly). But everyone makes mistakes. I read an interesting article that talked about how we use mistakes ~ if we tell our children “oh never mind its ok” they won’t learn anything, if we chastise or humiliate our children, they won’t learn anything. The idea is that you should learn from a mistake.

So when you make a mistake, the response should be yes that was a mistake. An appropriate action might be an apology, if you hurt someone. Or you might correct a result, if you are at work. But first, take responsibility for your mistakes. They are yours and you are human, everybody makes mistakes.

Most important, learn from your mistakes. Just like reviewing the wrong answers on an exam in order to learn why they were wrong, the point is to do it right the next time around. Simply put, if you do what you’ve always done, you will get the result you’ve always gotten. The good news is a mistake will point your feet back to the path, or onto a new one, if you have the humility to recognize the mistake, acknowledge the mistake and find a way to do things differently.

So, this goes along with taking a little risk in life. If its okay to make mistakes, then it is okay to try new things. You won’t do them perfectly because, as you know, everything takes practice and committment. You may not even do them well at first, but that’s okay too. You weren’t born knowing how to read and walk, you had learn and you certainly weren’t good at them at first; but you really wanted to do them so you worked at it pretty hard. As we get older, our pride prevents us from trying for fear of the mistake. But just as Native American artisans weave an error into their work so as not to offend God with perfection; we know we are human by our mistakes.

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Things I Want My Son To Know #2 ~ Don’t Be Afraid

Don’t be afraid. That’s it in a nutshell. If I had to choose one thing that I think is most important it is this… don’t be afraid. Fear informs all our bad decisions, all our non-decisions, it paralyzes us. It is not good to get hurt, but it is worse to never try. Don’t be afraid to love, you never know when you are going to find your one true love. Don’t be afraid to try new things, you never know when you will find your passion and your success. Don’t be afraid to laugh out loud, you never know when you will need those few more minutes of life (laughter adds minutes to your life they say), or when it might be your last good laugh. Don’t be afraid to tell your loved ones that they are loved, it might be the last time you see them. Don’t be afraid to trust, even when people abuse your trust it is better than living in cynicism and distrust. Don’t be afraid to touch people, hugs make a lot of stuff better. Don’t be afraid to talk to God, that way you’ll know you are never alone. Don’t be afraid to sing out loud with your head out the window and the wind in your face. Like any mom, I don’t want my son to take crazy unnecessary risks. I am afraid for him all the time and to counteract that fear I work on faith that he will be okay. But I want him to take risks, life is about risks. If you risk nothing, you get nothing; financially, spiritually and emotionally. Now that I’m old I am a little afraid of motorcycles (I have seen a lot of friends pretty broken up), but I wouldn’t trade knowing what its like to ride a beach road on a summer night on an old Harley. I know now that too much loud rock and roll can cause hearing loss, but I wouldn’t trade long nights of the best rock and roll in the world. I don’t want high cholesterol or diabetes (one I have and one I don’t) but I won’t trade the taste of a fresh blueberry pie or a profiterole. We try to protect our children from all the things we are now afraid of, but in my heart of hearts I know he has to take some risks, and I want him to take others, in spite of my better judgement. I want him to feel joy and love and laughter and a little danger, and not be afraid, and be safe.

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