“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” – Miles Davis
I think a lot about mistakes. Partly because as the parent of three boys I am all too aware that I make mistakes with them every day, and partly because I have come to understand mistakes as fundamental keys to learning. I have been puzzling about the idea that mistakes are never just mistakes in the dictionary sense (American Heritage Dictionary: “an error or a fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness; a misconception or misunderstanding”), but are always opportunities for deeper awareness and understanding. I want my children, all children, to have the chance to understand the valuable role of mistakes in life.
Whenever we experiment, we are likely to make mistakes. If we are afraid of mistakes, we will never experiment. And it seems to me crucial to the cultivation of an inquiring and imaginative mind that a person be willing to experiment: with ideas, activities, life. By an inquiring and imaginative mind I mean a mind that is questioning, critical, reflective and creative; this, I believe, is essential for making sense of the world and for living a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Continue reading this classic article, Making Mistakes and Thinking for Yourself, by Jana Mohr Lone, from the November-December 2000 issue of Home Education Magazine.