A teacher pointed out a young child to me, “She’s good,” said the teacher, “she knows all the answers but hesitates to put up her hand!” “Why?” I asked bewildered. “She’s scared to be wrong!” said the teacher.
A humorous story has it that a newly appointed young clergy person was contacted by a local funeral director to hold a graveside service at a small country cemetery in Iowa. There was to be no funeral, just the committal, because the deceased had no family or friends left in the state.
The young pastor started early to cemetery, but soon became lost. After making several wrong turns, he finally arrived a half-hour late. The hearse was nowhere in sight and cemetery workers were relaxing under a near-by tree, eating their lunch.
The pastor went to the open grave and found that the vault lid was already in place. He took out his book and read the service. As he returned to his car, he overheard one of the workers say, “Maybe we’d better tell him it’s a septic tank.” The young pastor came home and told his wife what had happened. She laughed and then gave him a hug. “Why the hug?” he asked her.
“So that you won’t stop doing what is right even if found out you were wrong,” she said. “Husband,” she said, “when you found the open grave with no one around you could have gone home and no one would have been the wiser, but your thoughts were the duty you had been called to perform and you did what you had to do!” “Yes,” said the pastor thoughtfully.
“You did right!” said his wife, then laughed and hugged her husband again.
Sometimes we make our biggest mistakes in public don’t we? Says former hockey goalie Jacques Plante, “as a goalie whenever I make a mistake, a big, red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?” But that doesn’t stop me from trying to save another goal even if I make a fool of myself!” We should never give up our right to be wrong.
Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from previous incidents of bad judgment. It is your right to be wrong. “No one ever became great or good except through many and great mistakes,” said William Gladstone. “Great mistakes are opportunities for great learning. And great learning makes for great living.” You have a right to be wrong.
And if you are to build a great life, you have a duty to make great mistakes. If possible, laugh at them. Always learn from them. And try to make sure your next mistake is one you haven’t made before. But continue doing right even if it means being wrong..!