You'll never break anything if you sit on the couch all day long.

Mistakes are good for you

"Failure, the best teacher is." - Yoda

What do scientists call mistakes? Experimetation.
What do physicists call mistakes? Research.
What do schools call mistakes? Failure.

"If you're not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything original." Sir Ken Robinson said this in his famous TED talk: Do schools kill creativity?

He argues that parents should support their children to learn from mistakes, disappointment, failure, loss, struggle and change. Don't make children feel bad for failing, be proud of them for trying.

At my work for example, we'd be out of business in a year if we all didn't continiously make mistakes. By mistakes I don't mean inaccurate billing or missing deadlines. I mean coming up with a bunch of ideas and spending time to figure out if they are any good. Many aren't. But it's through this continous experimentation that innovation happens.

Another example is this website: it took five years before I felt comfortable enough to share it with anyone. I must have re-written it ten times. I couldn't have written the current content without writing nine versions before this. Is it now complete? No, there will certainly be an eleventh version.

Learning from mistakes often takes time. Sometimes a lot of time. We need to be patient and let children take their time during the entire trial-and-error process. Don't praise mistakes but don't stigmatize them either. Mistakes a part of evolving, learning, being creative.

During trial-and-error kids learn about alternatives. Alternatives, that may not solve the problem at hand but may be applicable to solve other problems. Imagining alternatives is creativity. Lengthy and frequent trial-and-error sessions also make one perseverant: don't give up just yet, there must be another way!

My daughter's first grade teacher told them that mistakes aren't bad, it's OK to fail, just have another go when things don't work out right away. I hope for many more teachers like her. This is teaching at its best. We can Google a lot of things, but can't Google perseverence.