I spotted a boy sitting on the bench last week during a guest teaching assignment. I had recess duty for 5th and 6th grade so I walked over and asked him, “Are you sitting on the bench because you’re injured?”
He shuffled his feet and bowed his head, “No, I’m in trouble.”
I could see the shame he felt so I said, “Well, the important thing is that you learn from your mistake. We don’t have to be ashamed of making mistakes. We all make them and sometimes we make the same ones more than once but hopefully we eventually learn not to make those mistakes. Whatever it is you did, learn from it and do better next time.”
I wish someone had said something like that to me when I was a kid. I probably would not spent a life time in fear of making mistakes and lived in shame over the ones I did make.
Shaming ourselves for mistakes keeps us stuck. Having the perspective of grace for mistakes empowers us to learn from them and make better choices.