Everyone Makes Mistakes
We all make mistakes. It’s the reality of the world we live in. Mistakes happen and it could even be argued that it’s the mistakes that decorate the fabric of our lives. They are what insight change. My son is particularly hard on himself. He has always been. He strives for perfection. And while he doesn’t harass his mom and dad for re-affirmation, I can tell that he is both positively affected by good praise and negatively affected by discipline around a mistake.
Early spring, in our community paper, I read about yet another young, beautiful teen who in-spite of all that was going for her, good grades, sports, health and an outward projection of happiness, took her own life. Upon reflection, the community has decided that this event occurred due to an overwhelming sense of pressure that the teen felt to be perfect. Her situation is the “perfect storm” of events that leads a young and impressionable mind to make the choice of no return. More on the story: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/16/new-pressures-for-perfection-contribute-to-rise-in-teen-suicide/
I personally tend to pay attention to what is happening with our youth, be it my children, the children of my neighbors or the community or the nation. It’s my thought that the health of the nation as a whole can be measured by the overall mental health of the children that make it up. The thought continues that our children are our future and their impressionable minds are both a measure of whats to come and how we think as adults. This particular story made me stop in my tracks, it was close to home and the drive for perfection is close to what my son (on his own) drives for. As a result I developed a routine, it could be called: “everyone makes mistakes.”
As we go through our daily life things happen. Maybe a brother or sister is misbehaving, if I catch that my son is affected by the misbehavior my choice confirmation to him is: “you know son, everyone makes mistakes sometimes…” The confirmation goes up the ladder, to mom, grandma, grandpa, teachers, people in public spaces, police officers, doctors and even myself. If we are caught up in a situation where someone is out of line, for whatever reason, I look at my son and say: “you know what bud, nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes sometimes.” I did that consistently for a couple of months and then the opportunity came to take it to the next level. I could see that my son was getting worked up about a mistake he made with some Legos. I took this opportunity to say to him: “you know bud, everyone…” I didn’t get to finish my sentence because he confidently recited: “I know pops, everyone makes mistakes…” and turned around went back to building, confident and happy.
The affect of this little line has been magnificent. He’s personally been less bummed out when he makes a mistake and a side affect that I didn’t fully realize is that he is critically thinking about peoples behavior around him and analyzing the intent, lack of intent and authority of their behavior. He realizes that everyone makes mistakes and is sympathetic to what they are going through when he sees that someone is going through that process.
By constantly reminding my children that everyone makes mistakes, I hope to make them feel more confident in their own imperfection and less hard on themselves as they go through life and fall short of whatever standards they’ve set for themselves. I’ll take the side benefit of a healthy respect for infallibility of leadership figures as a bonus!
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