Monday, May 6, 2013

Parents, Be Wrong And Admit It To Your Kids

*This is from a chapter directed at parents*

Oh! That’s a scary thing, isn’t it? What if they ask you a question you don’t know the answer to? New teachers have this same fear. I’m supposed to be the smartest one in the room. I’m the Teacher. I’m the Parent. I’m the Adult. I should have all the answers.
No. No you shouldn’t. Be wrong. Be unsure. That tells your child that being wrong is ok. I tell my students weekly that I want them to get things wrong. My job is to teach them, but if they know everything I have nothing to teach them. Them being wrong keeps me employed. I will never ever yell at someone for being wrong. I’ll get on their case for not trying, that’s a huge problem, but being wrong? Nope. Be wrong. Humans are wrong with startling regularity. You can’t learn unless you’re wrong first. I tell my kids I’m wrong all the time. When I make a mistake in class they point it out. Oh, there is nothing more fun than pointing out your teacher’s mistake. “Mr. Robertson! The answer is 52! You wrote 55!” “Why so I did. Thank you.” “Mr. Robertson, you misspelled ceiling! Again.” Ceiling, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the most frustrating words in the English language. It never looks right. Being wrong is learning.
The best part of telling your child that you don’t know is it means you get to learn something together! We now live in a world where all the knowledge is quite literally at our fingertips. The Google Knows All. Take advantage of your smart phone. Show your child how you find out something when you don’t know. They learn from you. If you’re brave enough to be wrong, your son will come to my class and he’ll be brave enough to be wrong.


  1. Yep, you're right, Dirtbag. Problem is, when we get older and join corporate America the guys who admit guilt don't last long so we learn to hide our mistakes and let others take the fall.

    Maybe if we all raised our kids the way you suggest things might change, but until then secrets will be kept.