Life can be messy. Even armed with the best of intentions and the latest thoughts on parenting or teaching, we all make mistakes. In my life, “do overs” are expected. Better to admit that you blew it, ask for forgiveness and then try it again, then to ignore or defend an obvious blunder. It’s not enough to mumble “I’m sorry” while you retreat to the opposite side of the room. Stand in the middle of the mess, take an inventory of the casualties and then start over.
Humor and exaggeration work wonders. If you can laugh at yourself, you will help your children learn not to take themselves too seriously. It takes courage to admit you are wrong even when it is uncomfortable or embarrassing. After raising my voice over a spilled drink, I’ve had to stop myself, breathe and then say, “Wait. I need a ‘do over’. Can I have another chance?” I then use this opportunity to model what I should have said or done in an exaggerated way, as if I am a caricature. Worry or tears quickly turn to giggles. We laugh at ourselves, do it the “right” way and move on. A temper that flares in the classroom, at the store or in front of friends need not be humiliating. Use the moment instead. Dare to admit when you are wrong and you will inspire others to do the same.