Who Said Rejections Are Bad?

Making mistakes is a good thing, that is how we learn. This is what I’m constantly reminding my year 5 children. It worries me that today’s children believe failure is the ultimate disaster. One boy in my class  (let’s call him Albert) received back his maths test. He had one question wrong and realised his mistake immediately. The conversation went something like this.

Albert:    “Oh no, I got question 2b wrong. I’m so stupid. I read it wrong. I can’t believe it!”

Me:        “That’s all right, Albert. You can see what you did, you won’t do that again. Making mistakes is how we learn.”

Albert:     (silent tears trickling down his face) “But I would have got them all right. I would have got twenty out of twenty.”

Me:            “But, look, you’ve done really well. Only one mistake.”

Albert:     (tears are freely running down his face though he’s desperately trying not to cry). “But, I’m so stupid. It’s a silly mistake. I should have got it right.”

Me:         "Seriously, Albert. Making mistakes is a good thing. Goodness, if you got everything right all of the time, I’d be out of a job! The most successful people in life made lots of mistakes before they became successful!"

Albert:     (trying to joke through his tears but unsuccessful) "Ha Ha, you’re trying to tell me that mistakes are good, that's just ridiculous!"

Me:         "Not ridiculous, Albert, in fact, I believe mistakes are so important that I’m going to give you a merit for it.

Albert:     (incredulous) "You mean I will get merit every time I make a mistake? That’s just stupid!"

Me:         "Actually, Albert, I’m giving you this merit because I want you to know that mistakes are not all bad as long as you learn from them. Have you learned from this one?"

Albert:     "Yes."

Me:         "I’m actually really proud of how you’re handling this, Albert. You definitely deserve this merit."

This is a true story – it actually happened on Thursday and it got me thinking about my blog post. How many of us don’t take a chance with our writing because we’re afraid we might fail? How many of us delay sending our work to a publisher because we think it might not be good enough? How many of us don’t send our work to large publishers because we’re afraid we’ll just get another rejection?

Who said rejections are bad? Aren’t they evidence that we’re courageous? We’re brave enough to make ourselves vulnerable? Perhaps instead of lamenting the rejections, we should celebrate! We should dust off our pride and start again! 

So, I’ll start the ball rolling: please celebrate my rejections with me! I’ve had at least nine (and I’m still counting!) and I’m not giving up!

Who’s next?

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