Last month I told you the “Monkey Story” and how it was important to be able to let things go. However, there are times when you can look back and realize that you grew because of a mistake, or you learned something from it. In other words, mistakes can be lessons.
One of my colleagues at Shady Side Academy wrote this message on her whiteboard at the beginning of each school year: This is a mistake making place! Welcome to third grade! Why, you may be asking? Isn’t school a place to learn and to get things right? Let’s think about it. How did you do the first time you tried to ride a bike, or drive a car, or spend the first day on a new job? I can assume that you weren’t completely successful at any of these things the first time. I know I wasn’t.
My first teaching job was in Penn Hills at Ben Franklin School. My first day of school as a third grade teacher is still vivid in my memory. I had worked very hard to prepare for the year ahead. I had my lessons planned, purchased my first day of school outfit, went to bed early so I’d be well rested, and set up my room to look warm, welcoming, and exciting for my children. So, what was my mistake? I secretly wanted to be the teacher who students loved. I hoped to be remembered with fondness for my teaching abilities and connections to students. However, to accomplish this goal, I was WAY too nice! I tried to be friends with the children; however, they didn’t need a teacher friend, they needed a teacher. I realized that I was losing control of my class day by day. Fortunately, I realized my mistake after a week or two. It took a while to get class behaviors back in control, but we got there. I learned from my mistake and the next year I started out being more strict and then loosened up as time went by. Children want discipline. They need rules and logical consequences, and they need consistency.
As Christians, we’ve all made mistakes. Our Lord is a forgiving God and He forgives our mistakes; however, it’s important that we learn from them. He wants that for us. In fact, I think maybe that could be the reason for “storms” in our lives.
That colleague I mentioned in the first paragraph said she always held a lively discussion about why it was ok to make mistakes in school and how they could learn from their mistakes. It is important for us to be able to let go of past mistakes. However, those mistakes can be informative and when we go to our Lord for forgiveness, He always forgives.
1 John 1:9-10 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.