Learning From Mistakes - Teaching Kids to Face Mistakes

Teaching Kids to Face Mistakes

Learning from mistakes is an adult-sized lesson, isn’t it?

But learning from mistakes is something that needs to be taught from a young age so that kids can learn how to face their mistakes, recognize when they do something wrong, apologize from the heart and make things right if possible.

As much as we parent ahead, there is still a lot of parenting that must take place after certain situations.

I had the window cracked open because the girls were playing outside.

Moms, you know the drill…

Kids playing outside means lots of noise. And, as the mom, you can tell when the noises are good or when they mean trouble.

I heard the sound of trouble coming toward the front door.

Abby was crying.

Not just crying but wailing as if she desperately needed my help.

At 7 years old, she can still wail pretty loud and I knew exactly which daughter was crying before I even saw her red, mad, tearful face.

Now, I had to figure out if this was a hurt cry, a mad cry or a sad cry.

Check for blood. None.

Check for bumps or bruises… none.

Check sister’s face?

Ah ha… something happened.

But what happened was the question of the afternoon.

What caused the raucous in my daughters happy play time?

Elayna spoke first. “Abby threw rocks at a window!”

Not good. We live in an apartment which means LOTS of windows and LOTS of people. Not to mention that we already had a “rocks being thrown at windows” situation just a few weeks ago.

“Did anything break?”

Elayna spoke up again. “No… at least I don’t think so. Abby is crying because a man yelled at us for throwing rocks.”


I looked at Abby. She was still crying. Like shaking in her seat crying. Like the neighbors can hear her wailing and crying.

Job #1. Calm her down.

“Abby, Mommy can’t help you until you stop crying and tell me what happened.”

Elayna started to tell the story again but I stopped her with a hand up.

“I need to hear Abby tell it.”

Abby was slightly calmer at this point. At least she wasn’t wailing anymore… the tears were still coming. fast.

Job #2. Stop the crying.

“Abs… you really have to tell Mommy what happened. Why did you throw rocks?”

“I didn’t mean to throw it at that man’s window! I was throwing it at our friend’s window but it fell through their deck and hit the wrong window!”

A few problems. “I didn’t mean to throw it” is not a good excuse.

“So, even though you know NOT to throw rocks at windows, you did it anyway?”

“I wanted my friends. I didn’t know he would yell!” she said starting to cry again.

I continued to ask her questions and help her see that what she did was not good.

But the more we talked, the more mad she got.

“Please stop talking about this… I just want to forget it. Turn on a movie. That helps me forget. I can just forget I did it and then I won’t think about it anymore.”

HUGE red flag.

Forget about doing something wrong?

Learning From Mistakes - Teaching Kids to Face Mistakes

Act like it didn’t happen?

Pretend you didn’t do it?


This is when moms stop everything and realize this is an opportunity to teach something not only valuable and moral but more importantly, but a time to teach something absolutely Biblical. A moment to teach something critical to their growing faith.

If our kids think they can forget wrongs and make them go away by themselves, we are not teaching them that God is the ONLY way to have our wrongs forgotten and have them disappear.

Doing things God’s way… asking for forgiveness from the person you wronged and from God Himself is the ONLY way to truly be free from our faults and mistakes.

We can not do it ourselves.

No amount of trying to forget is going to make sin disappear.

Only through the forgiving power of a loving God.

Her simple 7 year old thinking might seem innocent but it is a deeper thought that we can carry into adulthood without realizing the harm.

How easy it is to forget a mean thing we said or a wrong thing we did… How easy to ignore a fault that may be hurting others instead of taking it to the only one who can make it disappear forever.

If we aren’t careful, we can allow the busyness of life to let us forget the sin in our lives instead of making things right with man and with God.


We all have sinned and we all fall short. We can not connect ourselves to God without His divine forgiveness and grace.

All of this ran through my mind.

The Holy Spirit was prompting me to act.

And it was a good thing he did. I was quite tempted to let this one go too… Honestly. I wasn’t too keen on walking with her and telling some upset man that my daughter was the one who threw a rock at his window.

{Just being honest… the process didn’t sound too appealing.}

But it was the right thing to do.

“Abby, honey… what you did was wrong. You can’t forget it by yourself. The only way to really forget it is to go and say you are sorry.”

“Noooo! I don’t want to go over there. What if he yells at me again? Please Mommy…” she said with tears running down her little face. “I don’t want to do it!”

“We are going to do it. It is the right thing to do. We don’t know if he will yell or not but that isn’t really up to us. We have to do our part by going and telling him that we are sorry.”

“But why?”

“Because if you don’t, you’ll be scared to go outside next time. You will keep remembering what you did wrong and you will be worried he will yell at you again. But, if you go say sorry, then you can go outside without fear knowing that you made it right.”

Her face said she was scared. She didn’t want to go outside again. She did worry that he would yell again.

By not saying sorry, she would be bound in her wrong instead of being set free with forgiveness.

I got up and we put our shoes back on. Abby was still crying but off we went to knock on the neighbors door.

A woman answered and I asked her if some kids had thrown rocks at her window. She said yes.

I squeezed Abby’s hand.

A very quiet “I’m sorry” popped out of her mouth.

The woman was pleased and said that not many kids would come back like that. She thanked Abby for coming.

We told her that Abby wouldn’t throw anymore rocks. She told Abby that was good because throwing rocks could break a window.

Abby nodded her little head.

We walked back home hand in hand.

Learning from mistakes

“See Abby? She was kind. She was glad you came back to say sorry. She wanted to know that you understood what you did was wrong. You did the right thing.”

“I still don’t feel good.” she said with big eyes.

“I know you don’t right now. But you will. Now you CAN forget about it and you don’t have to worry about going outside next time. You can go outside knowing that they know you won’t do it again and they know you are sorry.”

I could tell that she was starting to feel better in spite of what she might be thinking. Her body relaxed and her tears stopped. Within a few minutes she was back to her happy self.

Forgiveness. Freedom. Connection to God. Rightness with man.

Learning From Mistakes - Teaching Kids to Face Mistakes

One of the best gifts.

Do you need this gift?

Is there something that you are trying in vain to forget? Do you need to go to someone and make things right?

You can’t fix it on your own. No amount of busyness will make it go away. You must take it to the One who can make it right. You must seek forgiveness.

And we must make sure our kids understand that only Jesus has the power and the grace and the genuine love to forgive our sins.

Listen when the Holy Spirit prompts you to act… discipline. Follow through. Talk it out… make sure that no opportunity is wasted.

Learning from mistakes is an eternal lesson with eternal impact.

A lesson of the heart. The blessing of integrity.



  1. What a beautiful story of humbling ourselves, as painful and scary as it might be, and asking for forgiveness. Not only from God who is so gracious to do so but from the one we wronged. That took a lot of courage on Abby’s behalf! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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