Life Lessons

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

April 28, 2022

On April 6th – 22 days ago – one of my very best friends had a baby, a boy. She lives 138 miles away, so unfortunately, I couldn’t meet him right away. As a mother-of-two myself, I had to wait for the right time to take the trip to meet my nephew. And this week provided just that.

New Life

There’s something about being near a new life that makes me reflect on my own existence. At one point, I was completely helpless. I was utterly dependent on others to care for me. I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve raised my own children for the last seven years. At one point, they were completely helpless and dependent. And though they still need my assistance with many things, they can currently walk, eat by themselves, and express themselves.

Each day children learn a little more and grow a little more. But in the process of learning and growing, they make mistakes, get hurt, and stumble across important lessons. As Colleen Hoover writes in It Ends with Us, “All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”

As young children, we seem to accept mistakes as lessons more readily. If toddlers fall, they simply get up and try again. But somewhere along the way, some of us begin to think of our mistakes as character flaws. We begin to deflect and blame others for our problems. Imagine if a toddler fell when learning to walk and began to blame the carpet. Or looked at his mother and became convinced the fall was her fault. It sounds ridiculous but as adults, this behavior isn’t uncommon.

Life is Meant for Learning

We’ll never be all-knowing. We’ll never live a life in which we make no mistakes. So why not simply embrace our mistakes and learn the lessons they are meant to teach us? We should learn to accept that we aren’t perfect and constantly seek to learn more.

As Voltaire said, “Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.”

We should live our lives as open as babies and toddlers, expecting to fall and eager to learn.