May 11, 2010

Mindful Mistakes

“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice there is nothing we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.” 
-R.D. Laing

I did something really dumb with Robotson two weeks ago.  The short story is that I was feeling frustrated with the lack of commitment to learning and conflict resolutions.   I felt like I was holding up my end of the bargain and getting nothing but grief in return.  This had actually been going on for a few weeks prior.  I wasn't staying mindful of what matters (again.)  In an especially difficult moment, I made a statement that I would need to discuss the future of homeschooling in our house, with B.  I didn't mean it to be a threat.  I didn't even really mean it in my heart.  I was just so tired of arguing.  Looking back now, I can see just how far off track I had gotten, but in the moment it made sense.  I never did really talk to B.  I just tried to refocus myself and move on.

That's where I made the mistake.  I never sat down with Robotson and apologized for losing my temper.  I never explained to him that I am committed to homeschooling.  I never told him that he didn't have to worry.  So he worried.

He worried so much that he began to make himself sick.  I didn't realize he was having so much anxiety because I wasn't in tune with him.  He'd say he felt sick whenever we left the house, but I thought it was because he wanted to go home and use the computer.  It was four days before I figured it out.  Four days.  He said he was sick at the park.  The whole way home I tried to figure out what could be on his mind, and it wasn't until we pulled into the driveway that it dawned on me.  It was because I'd never told him that going to public school wasn't ever going to happen.

After that, we talked about it and he said he felt better.  The overall anxiety has gone away, but there are still some residual effects.  B was going to take him to Homeschool Day at Six Flags and he got upset and scared all of a sudden.  This is a kid who loves roller coasters.  This day is one he looks forward to every single year, but he was so upset that it took me 45 minutes to calm him down enough to give it a try.

I really messed up, but it spurred me to be even more vigilant in my mindfulness.  I feel like I've moved forward a little more since learning this lesson.


  1. I've made a few mistakes recently that are really small slips that have some more visible notice by others at work and they make me so mad at myself... so I, too, am trying to be more mindful and aware of every step I take :(

  2. I guess that like you (and RD Laing)point out it is important to be extra vigilant of what we say and do to our children (and everyone else). But we have to also live peacefully with the fact that we will keep making mistakes, and that's ok as long as we "notice" and our mistakes are not always the same.

  3. Learning from mistakes is the best thing to do because mistakes are part of this life and we all make them and will continue to make them.

    Glad Robotson is feeling better though.

  4. Thanks for all of your kind words. It means a lot to know that I have such great friends. Maybe it's just me, but sometimes I feel like I will be very harshly judged for the mistakes I make.

    I do have some related news though. Part of the stomach issues last two weeks were from a stomach bug. Robotson had it first, and the girls started it Friday night. B took it with him to the lake. So I can breathe a little sigh of relief that I wasn't the cause of ALL of the nausea, etc.