Hi, my name is Lindsay, and it kills me to make mistakes. Yes, I know that’s how we all learn, but for some crazy reason I have programmed myself to think I have to be perfect. No mistakes allowed, and if I make them there has been failure in some sort of way at life. Now, we all know that is not a way to live, and gosh, my kids are serving up the humble pie like it’s 1999.
My son has recently started to push the boundaries big time at kindergarten, and it has literally made my skin crawl watching him go through this. I stay up at night worried about what I have done wrong. That is when the light bulb went off. He needed to know it was okay to make the mistake. The important part of the lesson though was learning from it. I won’t say I didn’t lose my shit a little when he called a friend a loser, and pushed another all in the same day. That was a doozy! BUT they were mistakes he needed to learn from. They didn’t reflect who he was, or who he should be in his community. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions, but the biggest one was humility.
A reflection letter for our elementary school serves as a way for communication not only between the teacher and parent, but also a way of allowing the student to draw what they had done wrong and reflect on what they could do better. On a side note, I love how our school rallies behind their core values of respect, responsibility, and caring. It seems at times we start our children so young with tasks and educational knowledge, rather than the essential lessons for living life. What happened to making mistakes in a safe environment, free of judgement. Making it okay for our kids to just be kids. We are blessed to have a community that supports this, but what gets me is that not many do, and we seem to wonder why bullying keeps surfacing, or some children fall behind.
Here is where I changed my thinking. This is the time to encourage the mistakes and relish in them. Almost celebrate them in a sense. Without these mistakes where would we be, what would we be really learning? I can no longer hide behind them, but own them and offer that as a lesson to my children. How will they be okay with making them if I’m not?
So now we celebrate the reflection letter. Not with a cake or party, but we celebrate it as a life lesson we have learned from, and now have become better for knowing (even the hardest of lessons).
Here I am today saying bring on the ‘oops’, ‘rut-rohs’, and ‘Moooooooom’ with a courage we will become better by the mistakes we make, and know we do not fail if we have learned from them. The pit in my stomach no longer exists and is replaced by a loving compassion for my children, and they’re learning to become selfless contributors to their community.
Love and peace.