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What Every Child Needs To Learn About Making Mistakes (3 Essentials)

Given none of us walk on water, we’ll never get it all right. Even the best hitters in the majors only get it right 3 out of 10 times, which means they make “mistakes” 70% of the time they step up to the plate. Arguably the greatest basketball player ever, Michael Jordan, only made 50% of the shots he took. One of the best quarterbacks playing football today, Tom Brady, completes about 64% of his passes. While it’s okay to pursue perfection around what we do, we must live within the reality that we’ll never be perfect (by the way, that’s why we need Jesus). Mistakes and failures will always be a part of our lives. What’s important is how we respond to them.

Here’s three essentials that I’ve learned over the years that I’m doing my best to teach my children (as well as apply in my own life).

1. Own your mistake.

This first step is sometimes counter intuitive due to the big “p” word we all share–PRIDE. We need to teach our children when they’re young and reinforce it as they grow that it’s more important to be a person of integrity versus one that appears to never make mistakes. Rather than focusing our efforts on shifting blame or arguing about who is at fault, let’s focus on making things right. This simple precept will help them succeed in all areas of life and will also teach them the application of humility.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”

Proverbs 11:2

2. Learn from your mistake.

I’m not alone when I say that I’ve learned more from my mistakes and failures than my successes. Our children need to see a mistake or failure as an opportunity to learn from it. God also uses our difficult times in life to establish a foundation of character. A basic truth around all of our efforts is this: We do our best and God owns the results. Sometimes our mistakes may even turn out to be a really good thing. The following innovations were discovered when a mistake was made–the potato chip, the slinky, Penicillin, chocolate chip cookies, and silly putty.

This is also why it’s good to slow down to evaluate life on a regular basis. If we never take time to access what and how we’re doing things, there’s a good chance that we are repeating mistakes on a regular basis. Not to mention, we’re often spending more time on fixing our mistakes rather than figuring out a better way to approach the problem.

“…knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope…”

Romans 5:3-4

3. Grow from your mistake.

This is one of the most critical life skills we can teach our kids. When they make a mistake or fail at something, they must know it’s a chance to grow. While Jesus wants us to pursue perfection through and in Him, He knows that we’ll never get it all right in this lifetime. Whether it’s dealing with relationships, work or even sports, this is what separates those that succeed and those that don’t. People that regularly grow from their mistakes and failures develop a fortitude that others naturally want to emulate and follow.

“For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.”

Proverbs 24:16

The next time your son of daughter makes a mistake or fails at something, remind them that it’s okay…it’s a chance to own it, learn from it, and grow from it. Also, don’t forget that they’re watching you as well. How do you respond to the mistakes and failures in your life?

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

If I'm not taking care of the most important thing, why am I so busy with everything else?