Along the way, my young builder got a few things wrong. Sometimes that meant backing up several steps to get back to the failure before we could move ahead. Sensing his frustration and temptation to blame the instructions (or me!), I encouraged him to see mistakes as normal, even necessary to the process of learning. It’s not the mistake, I told him; it’s what you do after the mistake that matters. Sure enough, after a few more misplaced blocks, he eased into this idea of embracing mistakes, laughed at himself, and even found some patterns to the mistakes, which he quickly corrected.
We all hate making mistakes (and certainly if you keep making them, someone else will hate it, too!), Learning does not come from doing things right repeatedly; it comes from stretching yourself enough to make some mistakes. That points us to where we need to learn.
We did finish the helicopter. I made a few mistakes myself, notably when I put a black block in a place the instructions called for a blue block (I did not think the difference in colors in the instructions was very clear).
My grandson pointed it out to me.
“Pops, trust me. That’s blue, not black. I know – I have super-human sharp vision.”
Gotta love ’em.