Remember any of your own? For me that lesson came very early in my life. Part of growing up is to make mistakes. That is how we learn best. Sometimes even the most well intended actions could turn into big mistakes. I found out the hard way how lies have very short legs and the truth catches up with you quite fast.
My most pivotal experience is from the time I was around 8 years old. Our neighbor had somehow managed to grow mushrooms on her lawn. They were edible and very nice to look at. So one morning I decided that we should have mushrooms on our lawn as well. I went over and yanked out the mushrooms one by one out of the carefully manicured lawn. Then I proceeded to “plant” them onto our lawn. I was so proud of myself and could not wait to show the result of my mushroom “rescue” mission.
Once my parents got up, I “surprised” them with the beautiful sight of mushrooms. “Hey look, we grew mushrooms too – overnight!”, I exclaimed in delight. Well, needless to say my dad only needed to look at the bare lawn next door and then compare it to ours with all the white speckles of mushrooms on it.
“Are you sure that this is the story you want to go with?” my dad asked me how only parent can ask who already knew the answer to their question. I totally caved and expected a great tongue lashing. Instead I got a brilliant life lesson: I was to go over to the nice neighbor and apologize for what I had done.
Boy did I dread meeting face to face with our nice neighbor. I was quite afraid of how she would react once I told her about the bad news. I knew it was the right thing to do, but it took all my courage to finally ring the bell. The poor woman eventually opened the door and she totally melted my heart by being understanding and totally nice about the whole thing. My dad made me offer me helping out in her yard as punishment.
I learned a whole lot from the incident. For one I learned that fessing up to your mistakes early on makes for a much better overall outcome and a fast recovery from it. Most of all I learned that the best lessons in life are learned on your own. I am glad my dad made me apologize personally.
How about you? Can you recall lessons like this? Please do share in the comments. My call to action is to ponder how you would handle situations with your children (or somebody else’s for that matter). Can you put them into a situation where they have to bail themselves out and apologize in person?