Fruitful Mistakes

By Phil Stafford, Autumn Fitzsimmons, Jakob Sagers, Abby Blodgett, Anna Gerfen, and Chandler Miller; Schoolcraft High School Seniors

One thing people have in common is that making mistakes is a part of human nature. We can choose whether or not we learn from the mistake in order to mature and not repeat it. Sometimes, to grow from our mistakes, we have to analyze the elements of what actually makes the mistake an undesired outcome.

As the team interviewed some of our community leaders – Ted Manning, retired Schoolcraft schools administrator, educator, and football coach; Matt McCullough, director of Innovation in Teaching and Learning in the school district; and Shannon Myers, former national account executive, Nestle Purina Pet Care – we asked what the biggest mistake they ever made was and how it affected their lives.

Answers included putting work before family, choosing the wrong college major, or putting themselves before their family/team. No matter the mistake they made, they learned from it.

After looking back on all the mistakes one has made, it can be challenging to understand the life lessons behind them.

Realizing that mistakes can be beneficial forces us to see mistakes from a different perspective. For example, some people make the mistake of putting work before family. This may seem like a responsible thing to do, but in reality, it pulls you away from the people you love and adds stress to your life. Myers explained how she got herself into that situation and how the stress of her career caused her to fall ill.  “I realized what a gift each day is. I learned how to cherish what’s most important in life and to not take my health for granted.” Coach Manning addressed a similar idea in that he needed to coach for the team and not himself. Manning and Myers focused on the idea that individuals need to learn to live their lives for others.

Another leader in our community gave us a different type of response to this question. Matt McCullough said he chose the wrong major in college and changed majors twice before finding his real passion. “Choosing to continuously switch majors allowed me to have multiple experiences that informed me how I could be happy.” Through all the confusion and uncertainty, McCullough soon found the major that was enjoyable for him. Only through his mistakes, did he find his passion.

There was one response that pushed us to look at our question from a different angle. In response to our question they inquired of us, “If I am glad about a mistake, how could it have been a mistake?” By definition, mistakes are actions that are wrong. So if it was wrong then how could it be a good thing? Most situations have an optimistic twist to them, but it is our choice whether or not to see it. We learned that mistakes aren’t always a bad thing. When they happen, they can be overwhelming, but in hindsight, the opportunity to see the brighter side of every situation presents itself. You can choose to solely look at the bad things or decide to grow by finding the good.

Decide to bloom like a fruitful peach tree.

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