Borrowing a Line

It's a Jagged Little Pill

Yes, I know it's a song by Alanis Morrisette, but it so applies to this post.

Have you ever so totally messed up something that you relive your embarrassment and shame over and over and over again?  See, I told you the song title applied.  It's like a jagged pill that you swallow over and over.  (or at least I tend to relive mistakes in my mind...maybe I'm crazy, but that's another posting for another time.)

Henry had one of those moments yesterday.  Luckily, it wasn't life threatening, but it was something that was very public & ended the advancement of his team in a competition.  I think, as parents, we tend to want to shield our children from failure and embarrassment.  No one wants their children to fail, but can I tell you, the lesson your child learns from that failure will be one that they remember for a lifetime.

A few things that you need to know about Hen before I lay out what #4 did...

  • Henry has been my little Lego builder for as long as I can remember.  He would spend hours building and rebuilding different cities, cars, spaceships and he would build and play with them anywhere and everywhere.
  • If Hen is interested in something, he will do his very best with it.  No interest = no effort.
  • Henry does not get too emotional about things.  He's the youngest & can just about roll with any situation.  He's had to for most of his life, so not much ruffles him.  Well anything, except Harry.
Henry is on the robotics team at his school.  He loves it, no wait, he really loves it.  He loves every portion of robotics:  designing, building, programming, driving.  It's just an extension of his Legos, but he's able to compete with it.  So yesterday was a competition, if you want to see what they have to do, click HERE.  Henry's team did very well & were 15th out of 42 teams after all the prelims were completed.  I should also note that the middle school kids were competing against high school children, so 15th was pretty dog gone good.

Lining up for the alliances.
After prelims, you have what they call alliances.  The alliance teams are chosen in front of everyone & then compete against other teams to try to get into the finals.  It's single elimination, so you lose & you're out.  Here's where Henry majorly messed up.  If you were below 8th place yesterday, you had to take an alliance that was offered to you.  For what ever reason, when Henry's team was offered, (remember they're in 15th) he declined.  So basically, he put his robot team out of the competition.  No other team could pick them up.  I'm sitting in the stands wondering what 'in the you know what' just happened....

I look at him & then he realizes what he just did in front of EVERYONE.  (probably around 400 people.)  He messed up big.  His coach was not happy, which if I was the coach I wouldn't have been happy either, because this is a state qualifying meet.  His team had a great chance to make it to state with this robot.  Why would he go up there & do that?  Oh my goodness, this was not good, and the look on Henry's face said it all.  Jagged little pill.

Have you ever been shown mercy when you deserved condemnation and anger?  Do you know how humbling it is?  Everyone of Henry's team mates (5 for this robot) showed my guy mercy.  They forgave him immediately & were encouraging to him.  They told him that everyone makes mistakes & it was going to be ok.  No yelling, no raised voices, just friends talking.  They told him that they would get it in the next competition.  As mom of the child that threw the robot team out of the competition, I wanted to hug every one of his teammates.  It lets me know there are still parents who are taking the time to teach their children to speak words of life over friends.  I know the apples don't fall far from the trees, because we had several team member's parents text or email saying that it was going to be ok & mistakes happen.

There is a silver lining to this story.  We came home after Henry messed up, sometimes you need to be able to be upset in private, but last night Henry's coach called & then a sweet friend emailed me about Team C.  There are several awards given, that can qualify you for state without actually winning the final match.  There is an Excellence Award given that is based on: number of points, a notebook that quantifies everything the children have done to their robot, programming skills & diving skills.  Henry's team won it!  So the team with the little boy that eliminated said team from the semis is going to state.  His smile was huge.  I know that in the future, I don't think he will make that same mistake again.  You know what, I'm willing to guess that the entire robotics team from his school now knows the rule as well.

We do want Hen to own his mistake.  Just because it ended well does not take away what he did, and we hope he has learned a lot from it.  Both in how his team treated him, and how he needs to treat others when they make mistakes.  It's still going to be a jagged little pill, but it's a little easier going down with the sweet taste of forgiveness.

Celebrating life, hard lessons learned & the love of merciful friends,
~ashley
 

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