10 Amazing Mistakes Children Should Make

Photo by vauvau on Flickr

The response to this week’s intention to honor our imperfections — and our children’s — has been pretty amazing. I guess none of you are perfect either, thankfully.

I’ve spent most of my life making mistakes — not bad ones, but little ones here and there. I learned some valuable life lessons with some — and those lessons have prevented me from making some of those mistakes again and again. But, for the most part, I don’t regret making them in the first place.

They’ve made me much stronger and wiser.

So why do I try to keep my kids from making mistakes? Why can’t I just accept that they, too, have to learn their way in order to become stronger and wiser?

I’m not sure. I do try to stand back and just watch the unraveling. I could do better.

And that’s how this list evolved in my head. What mistakes have I made that I would want my children to learn from in their own life? What mistakes made me grow the most as a person?

Here it is. A list of mistakes I hope my girls will make.

SPEAK OUT OF TURN: I hope they continue to speak up for themselves. That they learn the value of when to speak, and when not to speak. I hope they never let an injustice slide by out of fear of speaking out of turn. And yet I hope they learn that sometimes — often — silence is the most beautiful gift we can give. And that unthoughtful words can hurt. Really hurt.

SAY THE WRONG ANSWERS: Children seem to have much better answers for life’s mysteries than those we’ve been told over and over and over. Their wrong answers might lead to a better way some day. I only correct my girls mistakes that have certain answers like math equations and scientific theory — not the inner workings of human beings, spiritual questions or why people do the things they do. The rest of the time, I listen to their ideas and explainations and they make me wonder. Call me crazy.

DRESS FUNKY: There is nothing worse than seeing a group of kids all dressed the exact same. My girls wear uniforms to school, and yet we try to embrace ways for them to show their personality through their own individual style. One of our girls mismatches clothes all the time. The other dresses like a fashion model most of the time. I love that they find ways to express themselves with clothes and accessories.  By the way, we’ve never dressed our twins the same for this reason. Sometimes the outfits are cringe-worthy. So cringe. Turn around and smile. But never criticize, that’s our rule. {Unless it’s picture day. I draw the line there.}

TRUST THE WRONG PERSON: People fail us. People who we never in a million years thought would fail us, let us down in the worst way. The sooner my children learn that, the better. I just hope they always trust themselves, their instincts and their hearts.

Photo via Jesse.Millan on Flickr

FALL DOWN: I want to protect my kids just as much as the rest. I might as well buy them knee guards now that they are running outside so much. But I won’t. I’ll let them run and when I see an injury-in-the-making, I will close my eyes and hope for the best. Usually, they are fine, but when there is a scrape or a cut, it’s not the end of the world — and it shouldn’t be for them. You were running so fast. You’re so brave. And then hug and kiss them – clean up the injury and send them back on their way. We all grow stronger each day that way.

MAKE MESSES: Glitter all over the floor. Dirt on the table. Flower petals on the counter. Toys on the floor and stuffed in bags everywhere. Crayons scattered. All signs of a happy childhood. All signs of a happy adulthood, too. End of story.

GET MAD: I get upset. My daughter gets upset. That’s what we do. I am not sure but I think we may not be alone. We’re passionate people. It’s OK to get mad — it means you care. And, last I checked, there’s a whole lot to get mad about. If we don’t get mad and stand up for what is right, who will? Still, she has to learn the consequences of true anger in order to find true peace. I hope she will get there sooner rather than later.

BREAK RULES: As a writer, it may surprise you that I do not sit over my girls’ shoulders critiquing their newly formed sentences. It’s hard sometimes but I always praise their work – and then later we talk about some of the things they can improve upon. The truth is that I couldn’t care less about incomplete sentences. They rock. I’m a big fan. It’s the details, the emotion, the passion in their writing that I want to inspire as they write. That’s it. Write. Just write from the heart. Forget the rules.

TALKING TOO MUCH: I don’t know, there’s just something about the rules in school that have always bugged me. I mean, I get it. I do. But talking … ah, we’re humans, that’s what we do. I expect that my kids will break the rules NOW AND THEN by talking to their friends and having fun. What is childhood like if we can’t laugh and play? Pretty sad and pathetic, if you ask me. Child got talked to today for talking? Shrug it off. But, if they get in trouble for being unkind? That’s a very different story.

Photo by Jesse.Millan via Flickr

ACT SILLY: Silly seems to come up a lot around here. Probably because I came out of the womb rather serious. I wish I was sillier. I’m funny but you’ll rarely see me make a funny face or dance in public. I have to restrain my serious self from telling my children to “act right” in public because there’s such thing as too much serious. I don’t want to hinder that in them just because I’m not willing to leave my comfort zone. Dance. Yell loudly. Make faces. Let it go …

How about you? What mistakes do you want your kids to make and learn from? Please share in the comments. I loved all of your comments this week!!

Now, it’s time for this week’s Kids Co-Op link up party. Be sure to add any fun family activity you did this week to this great roundup of blogs around the world.

 

24 Responses to 10 Amazing Mistakes Children Should Make

  1. I cannot tell you how refreshing this is. After reading so much about “helicopter parents” and 20-year-olds who are in therapy because their parents did everything in their power to make sure their children never had to experience the discomfort of making mistakes, this is wonderful to read. You are sending your daughters such an important message- That you trust them and they should trust themselves, that making mistakes is okay, and that they are strong enough to handle whatever pain or discomfort it might cause.

  2. this is great! this is exactly what I’m striving for with my son (and kids i have later on in life) there are so many people in this world who will criticize you for raising your kids the “wrong way” but so long and you and your kids are happy and they aren’t out making the mistakes others in this world are making your doing the right thing

  3. Leah makes the “Dress Funky” mistake just about everyday, but it is definitely on purpose. Today she wore a seersucker sundress with black Ugg type boots and lots of mismatched hair accessories. I loved it!

    I have a hard time with the “Trust the Wrong People” mistake. I worry so much about this one!

  4. I really appreciate this post! Thank you! Growing up, my parent was very afraid to let me make mistakes. (The “Get Mad” one particularly rings a bell) Not being allowed to disagree with – or be angry with- my parent caused lasting emotional and relationship problems for me.

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