On Being Wrong and Being Human: Thoughts From a 6-Year-Old

We were driving in the car when one of my 6-year-olds said something. Something wrong, according to his twin brother. They argued it out ’til the Wrong One acquiesced, at which point the Right One said, “In your FACE. BOOM!”

Now, look. I’m trying not to raise a brood of gloaters ’cause no one likes a know-it-all, right? I mean, no one. So I said, “Dude. When you’re right and someone else is wrong, you can totally say in your FACE, but only in your head and with the look in your eyes. Saying it out loud is not cool.”

But he was completely high from winning his last argument, so he didn’t believe me. I tried harder, “‘In your face’ is just not a kind thing to say, baby. How do you feel when you’re the one who’s wrong?”

“Well, I LIKE being wrong,” he replied.

And I rolled my eyes because oh, brother. “You like being wrong? You like being wrong. Oh, really?”

“Yes,” he said. And then he explained why. And then I pulled the car over, turned it off, got out my phone, pushed record, and had him repeat it all for you.

This is what he said:

[audio Why I Like Being Wrong ]

Transcript:

“OK. What did you just say?”
“Mm.”
“Do you like being wrong?”
“Um, yeah.”
“Why?”

“Because it’s just like being a human.”

“What’s just like being a human?”

“If you be wrong or if you be right.
If you forget or not forget.
You don’t know it or you do know it.
You make mistakes.
And that’s just like being a human.”

“Word, man. Nice work.”

Now, I know. I know we still have work to do on the in your face move. We still have things to teach on being compassionately correct. But you guys?

You guys.

Kids have truths we need to hear. This is one of them.

We spend part of our lives being wrong. That’s the nature of being human. And then we spend precious time after that feeling embarrassed or stupid or ashamed and reliving the moments of our wrongness in technicolor and surround sound. We berate and belittle ourselves for screwing up. Again. And then we rinse and repeat.

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But don’t we all need this reminder sometimes? That we don’t have to play the record of our wrongs in our heads? That we can love ourselves better than that? Bigger than that? Stronger than that?

What if we accept that being wrong is just part of it? Part of a whole life. Part of learning. Part of growing up. Part of accepting grace. Part of learning to love ourselves well so we can teach our littles to do the same. And that it’s even something to embrace?

If you be wrong or if you be right.
If you forget or not forget.
You don’t know it or you do know it.
You make mistakes.
That’s just like being a human.

I’m a human. And that’s OK.
That is, in fact, exactly what I was meant to be.
I am wrong, and I am right.
I forget, and I remember.
I don’t know, and then I do.
I make mistakes.
And when I do, I will learn to give myself grace.
In my FACE.

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……….

 image credits to Master isolated images via freedigitalimages.net
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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
14 comments
  1. OMG I love this so much – amazing. You are such a good mama to have created a kid that thinks that 🙂

  2. I needed this. And I needed it put like this. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  3. Love this. Great to see you at the library dance party!

  4. Fantastic post and wonderful words, and you’re so right – we all need this reminder sometimes. THANK YOU. And I sniggered out loud about the butt-sniffing 😀 xxx

  5. Great piece. It’s so easy to forget that being human includes limitations, making mistakes. In my book *Laughing Pilgrims* I call it the “Klutz Factor”. Knowing this is especially helpful for those of use who can hardly imagine and don’t like being wrong.

  6. Oh man, is this what I have to look forward to with twins? ‘cuz right now I’m in the stage of constantly having to explain to the older that yes, there is a 3 year age gap and just because his brother might be wrong does not mean it’s necessary to always correct him. 2-almost-3-year-olds don’t understand things the same way 5-almost-6-year-olds do and so he must be *kind* and *loving* and not yell at his little brother that he is wrong! 😉

    And also, I do not like being wrong. And my husband does not like it when I do not admit that I am wrong. Ever. Perhaps I need to remember that I am human after all and it’s okay to be wrong. Sometimes.

  7. What great insight. I wish I could feel so positively about being wrong more often. I’m going to try to remember this one.

  8. it took me a really, really, really long time to learn this. such that now, others who don’t understand that they are really just gonna have to cut me a long line from time to time, I just think that maybe they haven’t figured it out either. We do it for each other, cos we human. so cool to see that your 6 year old is on top of it. :o)

  9. This is the grace I’ve been looking for. That is all.

  10. And with that, he was basically saying (in his head and with that look in his eyes) “In Your Face, Mom!” 🙂 because he was so right….again.
    I love wisdom from children. What age does that stop? Because I have heard some really unwise things coming out of the mouths of 13 year olds…….

    1. Well, Lindsay, the same kids who say wise and wonderful things also ask their siblings to smell their butts with alarming regularity. So I think we’re all Both/And people around here, no matter our age. We’re all wise and very, very weird. 😉

      1. Oh, it’s not just my boys who constantly ask one another to smell their butts? And then their fingers?
        Good gracious. 🙂

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