Mistake - Double Take
Nothing's wrong with making mistakes, as long as we learn from them. Pharaoh, in this week's Torah portion, keeps making the same mistake of not listening to Moses and letting the Jewish slaves free - and he pays the price of plagues. Let's learn from the mistakes we make, not repeat them.
In our story, a kid has the challenge of not falling in the same trap twice.
Wendy had just sat down to cram for her test when the doorbell rang.
"Hey, Shauna, Deb - what are you doing here?" she asked.
"Is that a way to greet a couple of long-lost friends you haven't seen in a whole day?" Shauna laughed.
"No, it's not that," Wendy smiled, "I just have a lot of studying to do for my math test in two days and you guys are just sooo interesting that there's just no way that trigonometry can compete."
"I guess I should take that as a compliment," Debby sniffed, holding open a shopping bag. "We just came from the sale at Clothes Calls and wanted to show you the great stuff we snatched up at half-price. We'll only stay for ten minutes. You got anything cold to drink?"
The three fell into a short chat, which soon turned into one of their marathon 'heart-to-heart-to-hearts' and before Wendy knew it, it was dinnertime and of course, her friends could stay. Then there were snacks, more chatting, music, and by a lot later when they actually left, Wendy sat down again at her desk to study - and promptly fell asleep until the morning.
The next day Wendy really didn't have any idea what her math class was about and now there was only one day left to study. So this time she tried to put a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on her front door - which her sister, Dana, immediately tore off. "Why should she have to live like a hermit," she claimed, "just because Wendy had a test?"
This time she had actually gotten the math book open before her friends showed up at the door.
"Guess who?" Shauna said.
"What a surprise." Wendy deadpanned. "Look, guys - it's always fabulous to see you but I have a..."
"Yeah, yeah. We know, 'a big test to study for,'" Debby said. "But we knew there's no way you wouldn't want to see the latest disc that just came out today from your absolute world's favorite singer..." She flashed the square of plastic like a precious treasure. "Come on, let's pop it in your player, just listen to a song or two. We'll only stay ten minutes. Anything to drink?"
"Well," Wendy said, her resolve melting faster than a snowman in the summer, "I really should study now ... but...." Wendy thought about how cool it would be to hear the new tunes ... how much fun it always was to hang around with her two best buddies ... how she'd made that exact mistake yesterday and in the end got nothing done!
"Sorry guys!" she said, handing each of them a can of coke at the door. "Today the drinks are 'to go.' Come back tomorrow - after my test - and we can go as late as your parents let. But for today," she said closing the door with a wave and a smile, "working on my numbers has to be number one."
Q. How did Wendy feel about spending time with her friends before studying at first?
A. She felt it would be okay and she could study later.
Q. How did she feel in the end?
A. After she'd been too tired to study the day before, she felt it had been a mistake to play first, so she didn't do it again.
Q. What life-lesson do you think Wendy learned from what happened?
A. She'd made a mistake in judgment by letting her friends come in to spend time when she had a big test to study for. She was about to do it again the next day, when she thought twice and learned from her earlier mistake and didn't repeat it.
Q. Why do you think people repeat mistakes?
A. A big reason is that they don't think about what went wrong the first time, and why. So when the same circumstances arise, they're bound to make the same wrong choice. With a little reflection and forethought, a person can save himself a lot of grief.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. A wise person learns from his mistakes. Do you think there can be an even higher wisdom than that?
A. While it's good to learn from mistakes, a real wise person doesn't have to live them - but can rather observe the mistakes others make, see where they went wrong and take steps not to fall into the same trap.
Q. Does learning from mistakes mean that we should try to accomplish something once, and then if it fails, never try the same thing again?
A. While we should learn from 'what went wrong' and adjust things if we can - sometimes it just takes persistence and a lot of tries before things work out.