Last night my three-year-old asked me if he could paint. Me being a fan of creating when your heart speaks to you, quickly pulled out some newspaper, a pack of poster paint, a brush, and let him do his thing. While he was painting, he made a “mistake”. I love abstract art and I see “mistakes” as beautiful. However, he was really upset and didn’t see the mark that he made as something that he was proud of. I tried to come up with a solution and said, “It’s okay. Just try again and paint it the way that you want to. Just do it over.” He pouted and folded his arms not buying what I had to say. Then suddenly he said, “I paint it white!” He put his brush into the white paint, painted over the small spot that he didn’t like, and said, “All better!”. After that he painted over the white spot he made with some red and continued painting. I was amazed at how his brain worked so fast and proud of him for coming up with a solution on his own. In that instance, I was taught a valuable lesson, “If you make a mistake, simply start over.”
As this painting session continued, I started straightening up since he was engaged and having fun making fingerprints and handprints with the paint. A little while later I checked in and to my surprise he had made a mess! There was paint on the carpet, on his face, and even in his hair (the hair that I had just twisted the day before)! I wanted to scream! Instead, I took a deep breath before reacting and the words from the lesson that he had just taught me rang in my ears, “If you make a mistake, simply start over.” I immediately went to his bathroom, drew him a bubble bath, and grabbed some Shout for the carpet. I gave him a few more minutes to finish up the painting and I put him in the bathtub. I picked up the newspaper and cleaned the carpet. Guess what? Both my son and carpet were clean. You couldn’t tell that either were a mess ten minutes prior. They both were actually cleaner than they were before.
Besides practicing patience and encouraging my baby’s creativity and learning, I was thankful to have this opportunity not only to learn but to be able to put the lesson into practice. Every day we have an opportunity to reroute if we don’t like the direction that we’re going in. More often, we can even reroute with every choice that we make. Our mistakes don’t define us. They help us learn, grow, transform, and elevate. We can always start over better than before, create something new, do things differently, and make another empowering choice. What mistake have you made that seems like it cannot be fixed? What decision have you made in the past that seems irreversible? What have you given up on because it seemed like it did not work out the way that you wanted it to? Take a minute to think. I’d like to encourage you to make a new choice and take action in a different direction. You deserve a blank canvas and the opportunity to create a new beginning. The choice is always yours.
Every mess that we make
And loss that we take
Are building blocks
To create something great
We can master our fate
If we learn from every mistake
“All Gifts in Love”, The Book of Corinthian