We know it’s true that “everyone makes mistakes,” but still, on March 1st when our monthly tip was emailed with a glaring typo in the heading, the staff at Thinking Organized was mortified. We were so careful! We check and recheck our email blasts before they’re sent. Yet, no one caught “self-advocacy” spelled incorrectly in the title. All we can say now is, “OOPS; we goofed; we’re sorry; we will definitely try to be more careful in the future.”
However, this reminded all our therapists and tutors of a very important point about working with children. Mistakes happen! We’re all human and even the most diligent of editors (hmmmm…) sometimes overlook an error.
So how do you help children accept the mistakes they make, regroup and continue to strive toward, if not perfection, at least academic achievement? Some children (and adults) become so overwhelmed and anxious by their blunders that they give up. Many of the students who come to our practice are afraid to try because they hate failing. What to do? Here are a few suggestions, but as always, we welcome our readers to submit their own ideas:
- Gently remind children how true it is that everyone makes mistakes. You can humorously recount stories of personal slip-ups or refer to someone like Thomas Edison who failed numerous times before inventing the light bulb and said his process was “10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.”
- Much of academic learning depends on making mistakes. Remind students about how they first learned to speak, count or read. It takes the natural process of blundering and persevering for true learning to take place.
- The older we get, and the more responsibilities we take on, the more likely it is to make mistakes. People who are afraid to slip up cannot progress as students or individuals. Life is about taking risks, accepting one’s own fallibility and learning from our blunders.
So, looking again at the typo in last month’s Thinking Organized tip – we made a mistake, we agonized, we came clean, we revised our editing process and finally, we laughed. What else can you do?
Thank you to those readers who good-heartedly pointed out our error, and please let us know if you have any suggestions to help children regroup after making mistakes.