Today was Namine’s field trip. We were excited and we had a great time, but the day got off to a bad start.

We were all very excited about the field trip, but none of us wanted to get up early. As a result, we were running a bit late, so I helped Namine get dressed. Her tank tops don’t have a tag in the traditional place; they’re at the bottom, and the shirts themselves are reversible. They fit Namine a little better when oriented with the tag in the front, interestingly enough; Namine, however, insisted that the tag must be in the back.

I got mad. I just wanted her to cooperate, to get dressed so that we could leave. I was tired, and I was already irritated that we were running late. But who did I have to blame but myself? Getting mad at Namine was stupid, unnecessary, and wrong. But that didn’t stop me from doing it anyway.

Jessica pulled me aside. “You always tell me that Namine deserves to understand our decisions, to know the reasons why we want her to do things one way or another. But you can’t expect that of other people and not do it yourself! I get that you just want her to get dressed, but she doesn’t understand why the tag would be in front. Just explain it to her.”

She was right, of course. She did listen as we explained why the tag would be in front; she understood and accepted it. I’d prefer to think of this as a life lesson, and not beat myself up over my poor example of parenting. (Even though I will probably do so anyway.)

You might wonder why I’m writing about this. It might remain a secret between me, Jessica, and Namine. But I know. And having written about how important it is to me to explain to Namine our decisions that affect her, it would surely paint me in a better light than I deserve. Certainly, I am a much poorer parent than my writing would imply.

But often, our mistakes serve as better teachers than our successes. That being the case, I will not soon forget what happened today. I also hope it will remain a strong reminder to me. I make mistakes; in that, no parent is alone, least of all me. But armed with my experiences, I hope to be more than I was yesterday.

  • Stacy W.

    I think it does our kids good to know we admit what we’re wrong about. I’ve had a lot of practice with that as a parent.