If you’ve ever caught the comments on a Facebook post in the wake of a tragic accident, or you’ve seen an irate patron complaining about their meal at the restaurant, then you know this is true: mistakes are unacceptable these days. Commenters say what a person should/shouldn’t have done, and customers complain over the little imperfections that come their way.
We’re a nation that expects perfection.
But there’s a big problem with this. Expecting perfection of the people around us gives a message to our children that they need to be perfect. This kind of approach to life can stunt them and
I made a big mistake last week. And then I made it again. Two times I did something that, if the outcome had been any different, I would have been ridiculed. Judged. All fingers pointing my way.
I opened the car door for Miss H, like I usually do, then headed around to Baby E’s side of the car. After I buckled him in, I saw that Miss H’s door was closed, and hopped in the driver’s seat. I started the engine, buckled up, and backed out of the driveway.
“Mommmmmm!” Miss H screamed. I had forgotten to buckle her in. Me- carseat safety advocate.
This happened not once, but twice last week.
I’ve developed habits to help me get through the many demands that come with being a mom. I start the long process of getting in the car by putting Baby E in first, going to Miss H’s side, buckling her in, and then closing the door. Closing the door- something H recently learned to do from inside the car. When she closed the door, my brain thought she was all buckled in. I went along with my habits, but the circumstances changed.
I don’t say this to justify my mistake, but because it helped me understand the root of some mistakes that I had previously judged.
All of the terrible stories in the news lately are heartbreaking. People rush to blame the parents- I think we do this to justify to ourselves that nothing like that would ever happen to us, or to try to grasp some kind of control when we don’t have any. Sometimes a true mistake has been made, but sometimes people are just following through with habits. Either way, it seems like we’ve forgotten the importance of showing grace to imperfect people.
If we continue to judge each other instead of support each other, our children will grow up isolated and afraid to take risks. Mistakes are necessary to learn and grow- for everyone, not just for kids!
A whole generation of children is growing up seeing their parents jump on the blame bandwagon. “Did you hear…? I can’t believe…” When I think about it, I have done this so many times without the intention of ridiculing or ostracizing anyone, but that’s exactly what’s happening. Our kids see us blaming each other and tearing each other apart for mistakes that we’ve made- and I don’t want that to be something my children think is acceptable.
I try not to react when Miss H makes a mistake. If she spills her milk or accidentally gets paint on the wall, I take a deep breath and ask her to clean it up.
If she wants to help with something that I’m not sure she can do successfully, I let her help anyways. I don’t want her to get the idea that she just shouldn’t try. Children who are afraid to make mistakes grow into adults who don’t take risks. Relationships, careers, and even Christianity all require risks.
As for my big mistake recently- I haven’t done it again, I thank the Lord that it didn’t have a terrible ending. I now go to her side of the car whether or not the door is shut. I learned from my mistake, and since then I’ve made many more that I’ve learned from. And those mistakes? I’ve tried to point them out to my daughter so that she knows it’s okay to mess up, too.
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