Neither our educational system nor our culture values mistakes. Take politics. Apparently politicians of acceptable “character” are born, not made. For a politician to admit that, as a youth, s/he [experimented with drugs] [protested a war] [tried same-gender sex] [you name it] is career suicide. Unless, of course, that person found God and was cleansed of all youthful indiscretions.
In our society, we tend to view mistakes as indicative of weakness rather than the invaluable, irreplaceable learning tool that they are. We discount what it means to be willing to make mistakes — to take a risk, have the courage to try something that might not work and the integrity to accept the consequences. And we ignore that the best measure of character is the ability to accept and absorb the lessons that mistakes have to offer and, in that fertile context, grow and, when we’re lucky, transcend our limitations.