Today is a Great Day
I have been walking a lot lately for exercise. I have a Fitbit that counts your steps and I have been bitten by the bug of seeing how many I can accumulate in a day. The other day I got up before dawn to walk the dog. On my route, I passed one of our local elementary schools. The lights were on in one of the classrooms and as I walked by I saw the following on a banner right above the chalkboard on the wall:
‘Today is a great day to make a mistake.’
Honestly, I was taken aback by this. Would it not make more sense for it to say ‘Today is a great day to fix a mistake’? I then thought that maybe this is one of those modern convoluted wishy-washy teaching axioms that let students know it’s okay to mess up. I can maybe, possibly see this as giving some temporary assurance to a struggling student. But in essence, to me this kind of reeked of the “every kid gets a trophy” philosophy that permeates a lot of our society and culture today.
On this particular morning, I left the ear buds at home and was walking with no music or podcast distractions. This left my brain with nothing else to do except either talk to the dog or continue to muse upon this banner’s message. I wondered if this would be a good banner to hang above our big white board in our main conference room at the office. Would this make a good impression to a visiting customer? Not on your life. What if this banner hung in your company’s payroll department? Would it be okay for them to make a mistake each day? What if your next paycheck’s auto-deposit amount had the decimal point moved one digit to the left? After all, it was a ‘good day to make a mistake.’
As my musings continued and when they circled back around (because the dog was not in a talking mood); I began to think maybe there was some method to this madness. To be fair, and in the spirit of full disclosure, our little area’s independent school system is consistently ranked as one of the best in the state each year. Our high school was ranked best public high school in the state the last two years running. The local citizens take pride in the school system and it shows. My daughter graduated from this high school. The salutatorian of her graduating class was offered a full scholarship to both Harvard and Yale. So, I began to maybe give this banner’s message the benefit of the doubt because, at least as far as our local school system goes, success does speak for itself.
As the sweat continued to drip off my brow and the dog’s interest in all things olfactory far exceeded any interest she had in human conversation, I could not come to a definitive resolution on how I felt about this. Perhaps the next time there is an open house at the school I will bring a couple of banners with me and ask them to hang them somewhere in the school for all students to see:
‘Today is a great day to avoid making a mistake’ and perhaps ‘Today is a great day to fix a mistake.’
Now if I could only get my dog to weigh in on this, I could finally get some closure.