By Cameron Crane
Growing up, I remember being terrified of making mistakes. There was nothing more embarrassing to me than ‘messing up’. It's not always easy to accept that mistakes are simply a part of life. That is why when I interviewed two very smart children, Adam and Chelsea, about mistakes, I was pleased to learn that they already recognized the importance of making them. Here is what they had to say:
Have you ever made a mistake?
Adam (9 years old): “Yeah, of course. But not a really big one. Just little ones.”
Chelsea (7 years old, almost 8): “Well, yes. Have you made a mistake? I think everybody has made a mistake. ‘Cause, like, you can’t always be perfect.”
What is one mistake you have made?
Adam: “Like in school, I have given the wrong answer or once I was out in the courtyard on pizza day and I dropped my chocolate milk and it just went everywhere! Pewww! It was like an explosion of milk.”
Chelsea: “Hmmm, let me think about that. I know I have made a mistake, its just hard to think of one. There was this one time…oh no I have a better one! I was walking back to the garage after the doctor with my babysitter, and this guy walked up and he shook my hand and he asked my name, so I said. But my babysitter got mad because, like, she turned around I was I behind her so she got scared. She said that I should keep walking because I never know and he could be a bad guy.”
What did you learn from it?
Adam: “Well, the milk I didn’t really learn anything. Except I was embarrassed a first, but then everybody only thought it was funny. In school? Well, people are wrong all the time so you just kind of have to get used to it. Sometimes, though, if I get called on with something I’m not sure about I’ll say ‘I don’t know’, and she will either give me a clue or come back to me.”
Chelsea: “I learned that you have to be careful.” (Me: “What would you do if you could do it again?) “Next time I would probably just smile and walk and say that I’m not supposed to talk to strangers unless my parents or my babysitter say it's okay. And I would have held my babysitter’s hand so she wouldn’t keep walking without me. Because before, why she was so scared, was ‘cause she didn’t see me stop.”
Why is making mistakes important?
Adam: “Making mistakes is important because then you know the right answer the next time.”
Chelsea: “Making mistakes is important because it can help keep you safe.”
What would you tell a friend who had just made a mistake?
Adam: “I would ask if he needed any help, and that it was okay.”
Chelsea: “I would say it’s okay because nobody is perfect.”
As you can see, mistakes come in all forms and sizes. As do the lessons we learn from them. From quite literally learning how to deal with spilled milk, to accepting that the fear of being wrong shouldn’t stop us from giving our best answer, and even learning how to keep ourselves safe. Thank you, Adam and Chelsea, for teaching us about the importance of mistakes.
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