I had the privilege of spending an entire day with my newly potty trained, two-year-old niece a couple Saturdays ago. It was a wonderful day filled with artwork, frequent potty trips, frolicking in the park, and plenty of laughs. The crying was kept at a minimum and only occurred when we were not able to go to the “big” playground and swing. Now, the whining occurred a bit more frequently, and the cause of this is what I plan to address tonight.
I brought my cutie pie to my house for the first time. I’ll admit that I’ve been waiting over two years for her to be potty trained so I could scoop her up and make her my traveling companion. We drove to my city of residence. When we arrived, I quickly pulled out huge sheets of white paper and construction paper, some pastels, glue, paint brushes, and different colored sand. We proceeded to make art with those materials.
I love to encourage others to explore creatively, especially children because they learn so much from creative experiences, and I learn so much watching them. Pastels are messy and leave fantastic colors on your hands. The colors on the paper were vibrant and easily smudged and I was delighted by Cutie Pie’s excitement. She was very excited and at times bounced up and down from the excitement of it all. However, when she looked down at her hands, she began to get upset. “Oh no! It’s on my hands!” I assured her it was ok if her hands were messy. We would wash it off when we were done. We proceeded to create art and make messes; glue on our clothes, sand in the carpet, pastels on our faces… Cutie began to say things like “Oh that’s ok! We will clean it up!”
Later my Cutie Pie and I enjoyed popcorn and almond milk. Of course, she did not want to set her glass of milk on the table. It had to be beside her on the floor. Needless to say, Cutie did knock over her milk and spilled it on the carpet. She began to whine and cry, again I told her it was okay because it was an accident that could be cleaned up. This seemed to calm her, and we cleaned up the mess together.
I have said all of this to say that there is no need to beat ourselves up over our mistakes. Nor should the fear of making mistakes inhibit us from doing things we really want to do. Sometimes we get messy. Sometimes our decisions have unforeseen and less desirable results. We may cry or scream and whine, but it is how we proceed after our mistakes that will determine our final outcome. I hope my Cutie learned that making a mistake is not the end of the world. I hope she keeps that “it’s okay!” attitude. Life is a creative experience! It’s full of grand episodes of clarity and epiphanies which usually come about as the result of mistakes. What is most important is how we perceive these so-called mistakes. Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, let’s focus on the good that can come from our faux pas.
Have you ever found yourself crying over spilled milk? Were you able to find the good in your mistake?