“That’s not the right way to talk to me. Try it again please.”
“How can you ask your brother nicely? Let’s try again.”
“I asked you to walk, not run. Please come back here and try again.”
It can get a little frustrating, to say the least, but trying again seems to me to be a better lesson than yelling or scolding. Trying again can be tedious, but when we try again, we commit to do the right thing, even if we didn’t manage it the first time. To correcting our mistake. To learning. It’s not just my five and two year old that learn from this, it’s me as well.
It can be hard, even as the grown-up, to admit to mistakes and ask for a second chance. Luckily, little kids are pretty forgiving, and when I apologize for something like losing my temper, they are ready with hugs and smiles. My apologies don’t erase my, or my children’s, unwanted behavior. Apologizing for yelling at them when they do something wrong doesn’t erase how I lost my temper, or the consequences they face for misbehaving, but it does let them know that it’s OK for all of us to make mistakes, and that fixing those mistakes is the next step we have to take.
My daughter is accustomed to this “trying again” routine we have, but as adults it can be much harder to feel comfortable with it, especially around other adults. To begin with, “trying again” means we need to acknowledge that we did something wrong. We then need to ask for a second chance.
Adults And Second Chances
As adults, many of us tend to think of “second chances” applying to big mistakes, but they can apply to anything in our lives when we need to try again and work to correct a mistake we made. By doing the “right” thing, we are re-teaching ourselves and re-learning how to do what’s right. Eventually, the right thing becomes second nature to us, and our first instinct becomes to behave in a polite and respectful way. It is hard to learn, but worth it, and as simple as swallowing pride and learning how to sincerely ask for a chance to make things right.
“I’m sorry, that came out the wrong way. Here’s how I should have said it.”
“I wasn’t listening to you earlier. I was preoccupied and couldn’t give you my full attention. Can you tell me again now? I’d really like to know.”
“That was rude of me. Can we start over?”
It is a humbling experience, for sure, but a learning one for both ourselves and the people around us. When we are willing to own up to our mistakes, and also willing to try again to do the correct thing, we show the people in our lives that it’s okay to be human, and that working towards doing the right thing is always the best route to take.