MINT HILL, NC – It’s a situation that I see from time to time at Kumon Mint Hill. A brand new student comes into my learning center, nervous about his first day of class. It’s not unusual to be nervous when embarking on something new. Occasionally, I’ll meet a student who is a step beyond nervous. After talking with the student, I discover that the child is afraid of making mistakes. In Kumon, a program founded in Japan, we embrace the methodology of learning from our mistakes. It is through making mistakes, confronting and correcting those mistakes, that students gain confidence and knowledge. When I meet a student who is afraid to make mistakes, we talk. I let him know that there is no reason to be afraid and that we learn from our mistakes. When we practice, we improve, learn and grow. It’s the lessons that we learn from our mistakes that we are least likely to forget. When we as parents and leaders change our perspective on how we see mistakes, it helps our children do the same. It’s important that we give our children the freedom to make mistakes and learn without judging themselves. One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Jennifer Lim, “Mistakes are proof that you are trying.” How can you help your child be open to learning from their mistakes? Let them know that errors are a normal part of the learning process. Tell them that mistakes do not measure self worth. When our children are not afraid to make mistakes, they become independent and empowered learners.