Learning Experience

Sep 5th, 2010 1:26:00am

A few days ago, I was being yelled at by my little sister. (Yes, little sister. I am older and therefore not allowed to retaliate.) This is a common occurrence at home. We don’t exactly get along for the most part. On this particular occasion, she was yelling because she had washed several dishes – almost all, in fact – which is my job, and I hadn’t expressed a single word or look of gratitude.

I admit that at the time I wasn’t grateful. I was annoyed.  See, I am a “just-so” type of person, meaning I have a system of how I do things, and like to have them “just-so” (I bet you saw that coming). Besides, she had never washed dishes before, so I was sure she wouldn’t have washed them properly and I’d have to do them again anyways. I would have rather done it myself in the first place.

That got me thinking. How many of you prefer not letting anyone try something, simply because “you’d rather do it yourself”? How many of you don’t like giving someone a chance to attempt anything, because it was that someone’s first try and you thought they would make mistakes you would have to fix? I bet there’s loads of you, like me, who would be more annoyed than grateful. So, how many of you are getting in the way of someone’s learning experience?

Humans are such contradictory beings. We all know that part of learning is making mistakes, and that you never know if you don’t try, and that it’s good to attempt something new and different. Yet, when it comes right down to it, we are hesitant to allow it, because of that same knowledge: mistakes happen. And we don’t want to deal with them, even if it means that a person is going to benefit by learning something.
We confuse, delude and contradict other people and ourselves constantly. This being one of the several cases in which we do. What is so wrong about making honest mistakes?

Why is it so hard for us to let go enough to let others just… try? Even if it’s something as small as washing a few plates and cups? Why is it so hard to let people screw up, even it means you’d have to help clean up the mess?  If they gain something from it… experience, knowledge… then shouldn’t that be worth the trouble? They don’t even always make mistakes. Sometimes they find something they’re good at. Something they can easily do, and do well.

I wonder how many others have been kept from learning something, or were too afraid to try because of the response they would get. It makes me sad, knowing that there are probably so, so many. Because of our own hypocrisy. Because we didn’t give them the chance, and derided and refused them when they asked for one.

I realised all this while my sister slept. When she woke up, I thanked her. And in my heart, I apologised for being annoyed at what was simply a learning experience.

Oh and for the record: she did wash them properly.

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