There are 2 things I wish my kids didn’t say.

The first one is « it’s impossible! ». For the past 6 months, I’ve been teaching them to say « I don’t know how to do it yet ». Saying you don’t know to do something yet brings a much more positive state of mind, and implies you may be able to do it someday.

The second one is « it’s not my fault », that thing they whine when they screw up, or have poor marks.

Admitting you got wrong is something I learned only a few years ago. I used to STFU and hide. I learned to admit when I screw up, fix what I need to fix and move to something else lesson learned. For me it was a critical move, about being honest with myself and other people.

It took me so much time to realize what I was doing that I’m trying to teach it to my kids already.

I wish they understood how important recognizing you made a mistake is. They know I may get mad at them for a few hours, and shout a little more than usual. If you try to avoid it as an adult, imagine as a kid. But for long I’ve been telling them countless times that whatever how mad at them I am, I love them much more than I shout loud.

The task is not easy. We naturally try to avoid admitting we screwed up, and I’m fighting a battle against a tough opponent: the entire school system.

They can’t trust you when you say « admit you screwed up, people may get mad at you, but they will move to something else ». They can’t trust you because they spend 17 of their first 20 years in a system that practices a double or triple punishment.

When a kid get bad marks, he’ll often have to face the public shame (other kids knowing he had bad marks), be punished by his teacher, and have his parents being mad at him.

When he does something wrong at school, he’ll have his teacher being mad at him in front of the whole classroom. Then he may be sent to the principal, punished by the school, before he can go home to be yelled at (and punished one more time) by his parents.

There’s something deeply unfair in the way it works, and I have no idea on how to fix it. From my experience, only the best pupils can escape that system. The school system teaches everyone else to hide their faults instead of admitting and learning from them. It teaches people to stay under the radar and pray that someone else gets punished from them. And finally, it teaches them to deny the evidence and reject the fault on someone else.

I swear it’s not my fault! He told me to do it!

I wasn’t the most sensible kid in town. I’ve spent a significant part of my life letting people believe I was while doing things I won’t tell my kids for a million. Now, I wonder what’s worse from the school system: making cowards or teaching the kids to be smart enough so they won’t get caught.

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