"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." Albert Einstein
I've been conditioned to be a perfectionist. Mistakes get me down. Batting less than 1000 gets me down. When things don't work out the way I planned, I take it personally. I get disappointed, frustrated, down-in-the-dumps, quiet. And, I wonder whether I shrink the game by avoiding risks in the first place, just so that my ego can be satisfied that what little I did decide to do went according to plan. I wonder if so far I've gotten as much out of life as I could have.
One of the projects we're setting out to do is gardening. This, of course, started before the school year ended. While our children read up on how to care for the plants they selected and helped to plant them, I've been doing most of the watering, weeding, and checking-in on the plants. We have a garden at home and at a community garden plot, as we are working towards greater self-sufficiency. There's a lot to take care of. And it's been an adventure this early in the year. We struggled to grow our own transplants. The community garden was quickly overtaken by weeds. June was a really cool month, so the plants didn't germinate well. And all this took it's toll on my enthusiasm for the garden. While I'm determined to make something grow, I've taken the setbacks too personally. Of course I should know that I can't control the weather. And the things I could control and didn't work out were perfect learning experiences. We do things a little differently next year and see what happens. Hands on learning at its finest.
What my children could quickly catch onto though, is my reaction to failures. So I know I need to change my attitude towards my mistakes in a hurry. Part of the reason that we are homeschooling is so that our children can get away from the pressure to give the right answer in reading and math, the two subjects where they spend a lot of their time while in school. We want to provide a safe environment for them to experiment... take chances...explore, without the fear of "being wrong". I want them to experience all of life and be willing to take chances, backed by the knowledge that they are resilient and they will bounce back. Knowing that a mistake is very rarely the end of the world. Quickly moving from mistake to being willing to try something different next time.
It will take some time for me to think of mistakes in a more positive light. I'll lean on my husband for support. I'll need to write to get through the disappointments quicker. I'll leave myself positive reminders throughout the house to remind me that mistakes are life's gift and what experience is built on. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.