Monday, November 10, 2014

Thirty Thanks, Day 10: Mistakes

Everybody makes mistakes. It's one of the purposes of this blog--to fully accept my failures, my blunders, my losses. Every body is a loser at some point (some more often than others) and so it's easy for people to connect to the concept. We all fail, we all mess up. Processing and healing (or letting go of) these things is easier if we can start by accepting that they happened.

I'm thinking about this because I totally messed up today. It wasn't anything too horrible, but it was pretty embarrassing. Today was a math day at kindergarten, and I'd been planning this awesome lesson. It's "Around the World" month, and this week we're in Mexico. All of that is beside the point, because I was going to teach them about "touch numbers," which is when each number has dots on it to help you count. I made a poster for the wall and bookmarks for each student. My co-teacher (an awesome undergrad student getting Service Learning credit) and I laminated everything right before class and they looked great.

So we taught the touch numbers, and the kids caught on pretty quickly. We had moved on to practicing counting +2 and +3 with dice when a student asked me, "Why do the numbers go five, seven, eight, nine? Where's six?"

My co-teacher looked at me and then we both looked at the bookmarks and, surprise! There was no six. I designed the poster over a week ago, and worked on the bookmarks all weekend. We had sat there, cutting out the bookmarks and then laminating them and cutting them out again from the laminating sheet AND doing that whole process over again because the papers moved inside the laminating machine and somehow... somehow... neither of us had noticed that there was no six.

I have nothing to blame it on except that I didn't notice it. I spent so much time lining up the stupid little dots that I inexplicably did not notice I was missing a number. There was no 0, or 10. I knew that. But no six? Completely escaped me.

Tonight I went and remade it all. Re-laminated everything. Placed it all nicely on top of the supply box. I sat in the dark office all alone, still bewildered at how I could have missed it.

But you know what makes everything better?

Several things. 1. The problem was easily fixed, and I can give them updated bookmarks tomorrow. 2. My students laughed it off with me. They didn't get upset, or say something mean. (They don't know how.) 3. It gave me the opportunity to be humble in front of my students, and to accept my mistake gracefully.

I am so thankful for mistakes. In a world where social media allows us to only ever show our good side, our triumphs and victories, our ever-impressive lives... it is good to be reminded of what we are. We're human. We are all sinners, all in need of a savior. We mess things up. We say hurtful words and think destructive thoughts, we judge and curse and condemn, we ignore and neglect and abuse, we deceive and cheat and manipulate. Sometimes our mistakes are small and we need comfort or affirmation, but sometimes they're big mistakes and we find ourselves in need of grace, forgiveness, and redemption. Our mistakes give us the space to need saving. It's okay to need saving, you know. It doesn't make you less of a woman or less of a man.

It makes you human... a loser, just like me.

Thanks, mistakes. You make us incredible.

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