What Our Kids Learn from Our Mistakes

mistake I was at my moms' group yesterday for the first time in a month. Between illness and spring break, I hadn't made it in a while, and I was really looking forward to seeing some friends and enjoying some time to focus on God. About halfway through our meeting though, I got a message from a client that I do some editing for wanting to know where their pages were.

Alarm bells went off in my head. I had completely forgotten about those pages, which had to be finished by noon yesterday. So, for yet another week, I ended up not getting to spend much time with my moms' group. I was frustrated, disappointed and just flat out mad at myself for screwing up. I knew I had those pages to edit, but when I slammed my fingers in the door on Monday, I completely forgot about them.

I gathered up my stuff and my daughter and let my group know where I was going. As we were walking out, my daughter wanted to know why we needed to leave earlier. I simply told her, "I screwed up something for some people I do work for, and now I have to fix it."

It's hard to admit when we've made a mistake, whether it's work related or family related. No one likes to mess up. It's embarrassing. It often creates problems trying to get it fixed. It's not fun at all.

But we need to remember that our kids learn from watching us how to deal with their own mistakes. If we get angry and blame others, we teach them to get angry and blame others. If we get mad at ourselves and start talking negatively about ourselves, we teach them to get mad and talk negatively about themselves. If we admit our mistakes, ask for forgiveness and work to make things right, then we teach them to do the same.

None of us are perfect. We're going to screw up sometimes. Sometimes we'll be able to fix those mistakes, and sometimes we'll just have to learn from them and move on. Whether we can fix them or not, we need to let our kids see how we deal with them. We need to let them know that most mistakes require that we ask forgiveness from the people who are affected. We need them to watch us try to make things right.

Because it's not just about being able to admit you made a mistake. It's about being able to admit to God when you've screwed up. It's about being able to ask Him for forgiveness. If we go through our lives teaching our kids to blame others for their mistakes or to never admit they are wrong, then it's difficult for them to learn to follow the instruction in 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

You see, without confession, there can be no forgiveness. Unless we're willing to tell God about what we've done wrong, He can't forgive us. And if we are unwilling to admit that we make mistakes or if we're busy blaming others for those mistakes, then we're letting pride get in the way of God's forgiveness.

We want to teach our kids to take their mistakes to God, to let Him offer forgiveness and direction, to let Him provide comfort and love. They will have a hard time learning that if they don't see us dealing with mistakes in the same way.