Magic of Mistakes | Teen Ink

Magic of Mistakes

January 16, 2010
By Anonymous

When I woke up the morning of the performances, I was surprisingly excited. Usually, I dread public speaking. I am unable to say anything in front of a crowd of people without turning bright red and speed talking. But, I had liked this project from the moment we were told about it. It was different. We were not learning from distant writers, but from our own parents. Our parents are people we listen to, look up to, and relate too. They know who we are better than anyone else. We were going to learn from the lives of the people who meant most to us. I expected this experience to be rewarding.

I walked into the lecture hall, unusually calm, ready to listen to everyone else’s story. I wanted to listen more than perform my own father’s story. I wanted to not only be entertained by the stories, but to learn from them. I expected each parent to have advice to pass on. And I wanted to be taught their life lessons through their experience. I was ready to learn how to live my life better through their mistakes. These stories were going to make a big impact on me.

I listened quietly as each student told his or her parent’s story. I was amazed by the sincerity and the importance that each story held. I was filled with sadness when Jordan told his mother’s story about the disappointment of having a child of autism. I was amused by Mikaela’s father’s story about drinking anti-freeze. I listened to countless students tell their parent’s advice. I heard lessons about how our lives have already started and that life is full of things you have to do even if you do not want to. And at the end, I left the class thoroughly disappointed.

I expected to gain insight from the experiences, I expected to be able to apply their advice to my life, but I gained nothing. None of the advice impacted me. I heard it, but did not comprehend it. I had expected knowledge, and I got entertainment. Although their advice was good, and made sense, I just did not see the importance of it in relation to my life. I learned nothing.

I then realized that these lessons were not important to me because I had not learned from them myself. The things that I learn from my own experiences resonate more deeply than any story ever could. I would gain more from going out and making mistakes than listening to other people’s experiences. Every parent in that room had learned their life lessons through their experience. The lessons they shared were important to them because they had found the importance of their lessons themselves in their experiences.

I believe that mistakes are one of the most important parts of gaining experience. Their mistakes were what these parents learned from. I could not expect to have been impacted greatly form these stories, because they were not my own. I did not experience them; I just heard them. The only way to gain experience is to live life by making mistakes. Mistakes are opportunities from learning opportunities Mistakes force you to see the importance in what you did wrong.

The parent interviews showed me that each person has different ideals and values because they have different experiences. They have made different mistakes and lived different lives. Their different experiences have shaped what is important to them. And although, I can learn a lot form listening to their experiences, I will always learn more from making my own experiences and learning from my own mistakes.

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