Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life Lessons: Facing the Music after a Goof Up

Miss M came home from school last Tuesday and told me that I should never show my face again at her school. I was the laughing stock of 6th grade.  No less than 500 people had come up to her and asked if it was her mother that had run over that stop sign.  They called me the idiot, the crazy mom, and the stop sign lady. 

At first, my thought was fine; I'm never going to that place again.  I don't like confrontation and hate teasing so it's like my worst nightmare. 

However. that's not the lesson I want to teach my children. I want them to stand up for themselves and for others. I want them to tackle the "tough stuff" and not just hide it under the rug.  Of course, I had the opportunity to show my face at school the very next day when Miss M had her choir concert and I had to do it all alone.  C was at football, M was at soccer, and P had a dinner meeting.  Just me. 

To soften the blow in my heart, I'd made cookies for the assistant principal and office staff and took them with as a thank you for their efforts on my behalf.  Within minutes of my arrival (1/2 hour before the concert so M could rehearse), I'd run into another assistant principal who shared how funny she thought it was that it was me, someone so many of the staff knew. Then, it was the principal who asked if my day was going better than the previous one and hopefully no more accidents.

Sitting in my seat waiting for the concert and knitting away, I figured I'd made it, no worries.  Then I heard the family behind me talking about the "funniest thing ever" about a crazy women who ran over a stop sign.  They laughed and chuckled at what an idiot she must have been.  So distracted.  Must have been talking on her phone.  Really can you believe someone could be that stupid.

I just sat there. Silent. Calm. You know the real life lesson here is that I could have been that women chuckling at another's calamity. I could have been sharing stories of how stupid other people are, judging them, and making value statements without facts.  I've done it before. In my mind, I've said "idiot" when others have messed up.  Gossiped about others who have done dumb things without thinking.

It was hard to "hear" of my goof up and know they were laughing at me; not with me.  But it was a lesson in humility, a reminder not to be that person who laughs about someone else or judges others too harshly.  Eating crow is not easy.  Walking into a placewhere you are afraid people (OK, sixth graders along with all the staff/teachers) are laughing at you and facing it to some small degree isn't easy.  But, as my husband so kindly pointed out, it's better to laugh at yourself then to make it a big deal.  By tomorrow, someone else will do something else that's stupider and you'll be back page news.

Yes, I was the laughing stock of my daughter's middle school for a few days.  In some respects, I should have been as it was stupid thing to do.  However, it's a life lesson that I'm glad I could take for the "team" as it's easy to judge, gossip, or laugh at someone else until that person is you.  I need to not only watch where I am going when I drive, I also need to watch my tounge when I rush into judge.

Next Lesson on Facing the Music will be the Auto Body Shop.......

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