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This morning my daughter made a mistake. A very messy mistake.
She broke an entire bottle of nail polish. On the living room carpet.
It’s pink. Very pink.
I momentarily flipped out. I yelled for someone to get a rag. Or paper towels. Something to help me get this stain blotted while I threw the broken bottle away.
And very quickly I could see the look on my daughter’s face. She felt horrible. Worse than horrible. I think she felt like a total failure.
But who knew this bottle would break from just one little tap? No one. I didn’t. She certainly didn’t.
Our children will constantly make child-like mistakes. It’s part of growing up. It can be expected and counted on.
The only variable, really, is our reaction to these mistakes. Often, they aren’t pretty. Especially when it involves something like pink nail polish on the living room carpet. Or any other mistake that is quite costly by way of of our money, resources or time.
But I have become quite sure there is an even more costly outcome…a reaction to our child, amidst their mistake, that crushes their spirit.
Don’t get me wrong. I am really not thrilled about the pink spot on my living room floor. Whatever I can’t get out is gonna be there a loooooong time.
But I have decided that no matter what portion of that stain is left, I will look at it as a reminder that on this morning, instead of making my daughter feel bad for her mistake, I hugged her crying little body and told her that I wasn’t upset with her. I knew it was mistake and we have lots of room in our family for mistakes. I reminded her that I make mistakes every day. And I reminded her that she always forgives me.
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A safe place to fail
Mamas, like I have said before and I’ll most definitely say again: our family and our home should be the safest place for our kids to fail. To make big mistakes. This is their chance to fail, fall down and be helped up with our strong hands. To fall backwards into our love. And then get up again.
Our home will not be a safe place to fail or misstep if we cannot accept our children’s mistakes with grace and mercy and show them love, unconditionally. This doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for their blunders when they are more than childish and lean more towards disobedience or a poor choice . But it does mean that they feel safe no matter what comes.
Well, I’m going to get back to scrubbing my living room carpet with a toothbrush and a cocktail of solutions. And while I’m doing this, I can hear my daughter laughing, without a hint of feeling like a failure.
I’ll take that all day long.