I really do not like being wrong.

Actually, I think this is a common attribute of all sinful humanity. However, in all honesty, I really do not like to make mistakes. Please note: when I am proven wrong, I think I am pretty good at admitting that I made a mistake, but it is my desire to not be wrong in the first place.

One proud dad

This past summer, I had the opportunity to watch our youngest daughter play basketball in a camp down in Mount Vernon, Washington. She had been at camp for a week when all the parents were invited to observe their drills and games on the last day.

During a dribbling drill, I witnessed something that impressed me and inspired me. My daughter was working on a difficult skill with two basketballs when she dribbled one off her foot and the ball rolled away from her.

One of her coaches called out, “Jae-Lynn! What are you doing?”

Without missing a beat, my daughter called back, “Getting better, coach! Getting better!”

The coach smiled and affirmed her.

I later found out that this had been built into the culture of the camp from the first day. The coaches wanted the players to know they were going to make mistakes. In fact, they were expected to make mistakes because that meant that they were pushing themselves. Trying new skills and making mistakes go hand-in-hand.

Leave the white out at home

Often we describe this tendency to being correct as “perfectionism.” I see this in our students too.

In a recent science class, a student asked me if they could use white out because they had scratched out a few of their answers and had written in their corrected answers above the lines. I said that they should just leave it, as the scratched out work was evidence of learning.

They were growing. They were getting better!

I know we also call this a “growth mindset,” but there is something tangible for me in the words, “I am getting better, coach! I am getting better!” that I can really connect with.