Everyone makes mistakes….OH YES THEY DO!!!!
While raising my children, we watched Sesame Street on television, and now I watch it with my grandchildren. Many of their songs make terrific learning lessons in the home. One of my favorites, Everyone Makes Mistakes, helped me grow patience. The first line goes something like this…”Everyone makes mistakes, oh yes they do…your sister and your brother and your dad and mother, too…”
That song became an anthem in our home.
I decided that my children wouldn’t be yelled at if they made mistakes. I didn’t want them developing fear or feeling the need to cover-up or lie about mistakes.
Besides how we teach them to react to mistakes in childhood will affect how they react to failure later in life.
Over the years I think we did a pretty good job of not blowing gaskets over the billion and one mistakes that our children made. But it wasn’t easy.
I’ll never forget Thanksgiving Day of 1984. My clothes drooped from flour dust and my hair sagged from perspiration after slaving in the kitchen for two whole days making the perfect feast. My husband lit the autumn gold candles on the table and our Thanksgiving dinner became worthy of first-prize in a Better Homes and Garden contest. But before we had time to delight in the festive glow, one of our rambunctious darlings jumped up for a buttery roll and spilled a huge bottle of dark purple grape juice across the table. It soaked the tablecloth, place mats, flowers, plates, side dishes, and turkey. But we all smiled. Everyone makes mistakes–right? And the soggy food tasted scrump-dilly-umptious (I can say that now–out the side of my mouth). Our whole family sang the Sesame Street song (because I made them)–it’s really the best way to defuse anger—isn’t it? (ahem).
Then in 1990, when we lived in Maryland, my husband and I bought a brand new, blue van. Our grins showcased our ecstatic joy. We’d always wanted a van, but our budget never budged. Then our local car dealership offered a special we couldn’t refuse. And voila! the van became ours. After pulling into the driveway on that hot, sun-shiny day in May, my husband waxed every millimeter of the van’s exterior until we could see our Mary Tyler Moore smiles staring back. That was until one of the kids,( I’m sure they’ll remember which one) came whizzing around the corner on her bicycle and screeched alongside the van with excitement to check out the new arrival. Unfortunately, her handlebar had lost its little pink rubber cover that keeps the metal tip from exposure. Yep, we had a nice scratch across the door of the brand new van.
My husband’s face turned stop-light red, and I grabbed his arm and began singing…”Everyone makes mistakes…oh yes, they do!” He screwed up his lips and puffed out his cheeks. I had to do something, so I motioned the three kids to join me in a rousing chorus of our favorite song. Brian swallowed his scream and we all smiled, because everyone makes mistakes…don’t they?
Then of course–just to keep things even-steven, about a year after that, I begged my husband for a brand new, round, solid oak pedestal table for our breakfast nook. I’d been drooling over it for months.”Please, please,” I begged, “I’ll keep it in mint condition.” My hubby checked our finances and then deliberated for hours before agreeing to make the trip to the country furniture store. I could have done cartwheels on gravel in my exuberant state.
A few days later, as the sun smiled brightly overhead, the beautiful light colored oak table was delivered to our door. After the truck left, I stood in every corner of the kitchen marveling over my prized possession. Then I set about polishing it for at least an hour. That’s when the front door creaked open and then slammed.
“Mom, I’m home!” our son shouted. I was so dazzled with stars in my eyes, that I just kept rubbing the table, oblivious to the chores of a mom. Our son hurried to the kitchen, looking for me. “Guess what?” he shouted, plopping his trumpet case on the gorgeous–SHINY–round–OAK–pedestal table.
I let out a shriek—“Noooooo!”
Our son grabbed his case and yanked it toward him, trying to remove it in warp speed. And that’s when the metal edge bumpers on the trumpet case gave birth to a long, deep, ugly groove on the top of the shiny–ROUND–solid oak–PEDESTAL table. My husband entered the room and surveyed the scene. “Everyone makes mistakes,” he said, covering his mouth with his hand.
I can tell you how I wanted to react, and it wouldn’t have been a pretty site, but I girded up my loins and forced a smile across my tightly screwed face. Then through gritted teeth, I squeaked, “It’s okay, son, everyone makes mistakes,” and my husband added on, “OH YES THEY DO!”
I can honestly say from years of experience, that it’s hard not to get upset when someone makes a mistake that affects our belongings. But really, what ARE our prized possessions? The turkey dinner? No. The brand new van? No. The beautiful pedestal table? No.
The prized possessions are our children.
Luke 6:37 NIV “… Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Parents lets remember to show the same mercy to our children that we want shown to us.
Deb Gardner Allard is a writer of books & stories for children. She has a B.S. degree in psychology and is a retired registered nurse. Her book, “Izzy and the Real! Truth About Moose Boy,” a book for 3rd through 5th graders, encourages children to talk about the difference between teasing and bullying while reading about the pranks of Moose Boy. The book can be purchased through Barnes & Noble.com, Amazon.com and most other venues. Deb enjoys blogging about children, as well. Visit her website at www.debgardnerallard.com.
The heart picture on the material background was created by Zela and borrowed from Rgbstock.com. Thanks Zela for allowing me to use the beautiful picture.