My husband explained the math concept again and asked my older daughter to do a problem. She made the same mistake, again.
As I fixed lunches for the day, I could see the frustration growing on both sides. Tears began to roll down my daughters face. The pitch of my husband’s voice showed his frustration. He couldn’t understand why she kept making the same mistake. She couldn’t understand why he was getting so frustrated.
My husband is really good at math. He likes it, and he uses it every day at his job. My daughter is also good at math, but the combination of fractions and variables in the same problem was a puzzle her 11-year-old brain couldn’t seem to solve.
Teaching our kids isn’t easy. Whether it’s math or life lessons, it’s easy to assume that our kids learn just like we do. But they don’t. Each of our kids is an individual. They each have their own learning style. They each have their own areas where they are going to struggle, and those areas are usually different from the places where we struggle ourselves. That combination often leads to frustration for everyone.
We hate to watch our kids make mistakes. It’s hard enough when it’s a math problem. It’s even harder when we watch our kids make poor choices in friends or when they choose to be disrespectful at school or even when they make poor choices when it comes to how they treat their bodies. We can get so frustrated as parents as we try to teach them the right thing to do.
The truth is, none of us can learn without making mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process, and we often learn more from our mistakes than we do from getting something correct the first time. God uses our mistakes to help us learn to do the right thing.
Look at Peter: he denied knowing Jesus three times. Imagine how frustrating that must have been for God. Peter had said he would follow Jesus anywhere, and then he pretended not to know Him. Yet, Jesus didn’t give up on Peter. He simply reminded Peter he was loved, then gave him another shot. And Peter made the most of that second chance. He became the leader of the early church and eventually died a martyr’s death because he refused to deny knowing Jesus for a fourth time.
Just like Peter, we have to let our kids make mistakes. We have to keep teaching them even through the frustration of them making the same mistake over and over again. We have to treat each mistake as a learning process and give our kids another chance.
When we hang onto our frustration with our kids’ mistakes, when we don’t let it spill over into the way we interact with them, we have a much better chance of helping them to conquer the mistake. We can step back, look at the situation and tackle the problem again from a different angle when we’re not frustrated and angry about it. When we do that, we offer our kids a second chance, and, like Peter, they just might do something amazing with it.
Linking up today with Denise in Bloom.