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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Is there ‘courage in the midst of our mistakes’?comment (0)

March 3, 2011

By Jean Roberson


My daughter came home from school recently and told me she needed to tell me something. Some girls in her class were caught talking and got in trouble with the teacher. My daughter was a part of the group talking and contributed to the problem, but she did not get caught.

She told me she watched her friends flip a card, which is part of the school disciplinary procedure, and felt terribly guilty. So she went to the teacher, explained that she should have to flip a card as well and went to flip her card. She told me because she was confessing to misbehavior. We talked about the importance of being quiet in the classroom and following the teacher’s directions. We spent more time, though, talking about how good it was that she was proactive in telling the teacher and taking responsibility.

I was so proud of her. It was one of those moments when I was overcome by how she was growing up. Her maturation was marked by the fact that she was willing to take responsibility for her mistake. She knew there would be consequences, but she had the courage to be honest about her misbehavior.  

What changes as we get older? Why do we become increasingly reticent to take responsibility for our mistakes? When we misspeak to someone, when we jump to conclusions, when we fail to follow through with something, we hide. We blame. We try to act as though nothing has happened.

True, our mistakes get bigger and the consequences are more significant but does the principle change? Is it somehow more ethical and admirable to blame others and try to hide our mistakes?

Running from responsibility certainly does seem to be in our nature. From the beginning in Genesis, we see the act of blaming from both Adam and Eve. Adam blamed Eve for giving him the apple. Eve blamed the serpent for tricking her. Has that ever been something we have esteemed about Adam and Eve? When we talk about the story, we usually remark that blaming others contributed to the problem and demonstrated further disobedience by Adam and Eve.

We seem to forget how taking responsibility was once a mark of maturity. We forget that demonstrating courage in the midst of our mistakes is admirable. Claim your mistakes. Take responsibility and then take the initiative to correct them. Everyone makes mistakes. The issue is not making mistakes. The issue is how we handle them.

A Takeaway Value …
When you make a mistake, be proactive by claiming it and taking responsibility.  

EDITOR’S NOTE — Jean Roberson, MSW, LCSW, is a ministry consultant for national Woman’s Missionary Union. She serves as team leader for the adult team and director of Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps and International Initiatives.

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