I (Joey) was intrigued when I read a story about Lee Ann Walker a professional woman’s golfer. While playing in a tournament in 2019 after taking 8 years off from the sport, she learned she didn’t know about a rule change that said her
caddie could no longer line up her shot, which she had been allowing him to do. When another golfer told her about the rule change half way through the tournament, she on her own initiative went to the tournament directors to tell them what she had done and to ask them how to right the wrong.
Lee Ann made an honest mistake. What is that? An “honest mistake”is “a mistake made unintentionally or unknowingly and without the intention of causing harm; a mistake that anyone might have made in similar circumstances.” If your kids were confronted with an issue they didn’t know they were doing wrong, would they on their own initiative try to make it right? If there was a consequence, would they take it graciously?
How to help a child own his mistakes:
- Children need to climb over their feelings of failure and realize everyone makes mistakes. This can be especially hard for a child with the melancholy temperament.
- When a child makes a mistake, he/she needs to own it to clear his guilty conscience, apologize to get rid of it and to make the offense right with the person he offended.
- The question to ask a child is “What is stopping you from owning up to the fact you made a mistake?” Is it pride, selfishness?
- Help them realize it’s their choice to apologize quickly for a simple mistake or as a consequence for not being willing to do the right thing, to miss out on fun the family has planned.
One of the hardest things to teach kids is to take ownership of something they did that has caused a mess or an offense with another when they don’t think they have done anything wrong. We used to tell our son when dealing with one of his sisters, “You said something that hurt her feelings. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t intend to, it doesn’t matter if you think she should toughen up. What matters is she is sitting in her room crying. What do you think you should do about that?”
Kids (8 years and above) need to learn to see themselves honestly, as others see them. Do you have a child who is mean-spirited, rude or obnoxious to his siblings but kind and gracious to others? When we dealt with this with our kids they lost the freedom of being with their friends until they could show us they could be kind to their siblings.
If kids don’t learn to see themselves through an honest lens of reality, they will grow up to be prideful, arrogant adults.
By the way, Lee Ann Walker, the professional golfer we talked about in the beginning of this blog received 58 penalty strokes for all the times she hit the ball her caddie had lined up for her. That is the most any professional golfer has ever received in a major tournament! Her response?
“I wasn’t mad; I wasn’t upset,” said Walker. “Setting the record for the most penalty points ever isn’t exactly the record you want in golf, but at that point what can you do? Obviously, it’s my fault for not knowing the rule changes before I entered the tournament.”
There are consequences to breaking rules whether you know you are breaking them or not. They help us learn the right thing to do and remember not to do it again. We doubt Lee Ann will ever enter a tournament without checking the rule book again. What do you think?
“Learn to do good, seek justice, fight oppression.”