Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mistakes: Golden Nuggets of Wisdom

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In the preface of Love and Logic Magic, the authors (Fay and Fay) discuss the value of mistakes your children make. They point out that every mistake your child makes can turn into a golden nugget of wisdom. The more mistakes your children make, the wiser they can become. They say that Love and Logic Magic teaches you how to accomplish this (xi).

I really like this point on mistakes. This applies to children and adults alike. I think it is a great way to look at mistakes. Many of us look at mistakes and go into instant panic mode:

"Where have I gone wrong?!?!?"

"Where did my little angel go? Will I ever get him back?!?!?!?"

"I can't believe I messed up the timing for that nap! I am so dumb!"

"Why didn't I go check on her sooner?"

"Why did I leave those crayons down within reach?!!??"

"Will my baby ever get back to sleeping well?"

"I can't believe my child just yelled at another child! Is he going to be mean forever?"

These are some of the things that go through our heads. Instead, perhaps we could think this way:

"What could I have done differently? What should I do differently next time?"

"What can I do to help her behave appropriately?"

"I bet I'll never make that mistake again!"

"We can work this out."

Every mistake is a great learning opportunity. 

Have you ever seen the movie Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang? If not, you need to. It is fabulous. Do you remember the song "The Roses of Success"? It is so applicable to everything in life. Here, you can watch it if you want to.




I think a great example of what can come of mistakes is this blog. I know a lot of you read things and think everything is perfect, but the fact is, these posts are derived from experience. I can write about these issues you encounter because I have encountered them, also. Through the difficulties and mistakes, I have learned a lot.

But I am also an extreme perfectionist. On Tuesday, I shared a story of Brayden at school telling the other children he was smarter than they are. In the end, I think I handled the situation well, but when his teacher was first telling me, I was absolutely mortified. I could not believe my sweet little boy had said such things! I started going through the panic mode train of thinking.

I had to calm myself down. I was calm in talking with him, but still had inner turmoil inside. Later, I told my good friend about it. Her son is in Brayden's class and she has had two boys go before. She made me feel a lot better about it all. She reminded me of what a great learning opportunity it was for Brayden. She pointed out how young he was and how great it was we were able to discover and work on it now rather than later.

She is not an ultra-perfectionist and has a great outlook on these situations. She is thrilled when her Kindergartener comes home and tells her about someone who was mean. She seizes that teaching moment. She loves for them to discuss difficulties they face. They are all teaching moments.

So I very much appreciate this comment from Love and Logic Magic. You can't {realistically} expect to have everything go smoothly. There will be mistakes made by you and by your child. Neither one of you are perfect. No matter how hard you try, there will be mistakes. So when a mistake comes, do your best to look at it as a learning opportunity rather than lament all you have done wrong in life. You learn, your child learns, and you can all move on.

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2 comments:

LaChelle said...

God knew I needed this post today! My, almost 19 month old, is beginning to act like a toddler. I repeat myself multiple times a day about do not throw your food, do not put food covered hands in your hair when done eating, do not touch the ornaments (i did read your post on that...very helpful), stop when I tell you to stop. I feel like a parrot repeating myself over & over. Time outs & hand swatting are the consequences. I HATE having to clean food up off the floor by the platefulls! It makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong. I keep trying to remind myself..."he's a toddler LaChelle, this is what they do", but it doesn't work. :-) I still beat myself up about it & don't know how to do it differently. Thanks for the uplifting words!
One question: Is it normal for a child to act differently with their mother (i.e. try to get away with more bad behaviors) versus other parents, grandparents? This seems to be the case with my son. He acts differently with me, more whiney, than with other members of our family.

Plowmanators said...

LaChelle,

It is not uncommon.

In some cases, the child will not behave as well for a certain person because that person is not consistent with the child. It sounds like you are, but I think it is worth some self-reflection to make sure that is the case.

My mom always says a child is the worst behaved for their own parents because the child feels unconditional love, so the child feels comfortable. I think that is true. So you can take it as a compliment :)

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