"When you know better you do better."
~ Maya Angelou
Humans: we start out ignorant and naive; we make mistakes. We do stupid, dangerous and scary things. If we're lucky we live through it, learn from it, and help others avoid it.
"From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own."
Daily Momtra has a post which I love called Activism Isn't About Being Better Than You. Sometimes activists are viewed as being "holier than thou" when we try to spread awareness. That's understandable since we're basically saying, You're doing it wrong; do it how I do it when often our opinion is given without solicitation.The whole point of activism is stopping an injustice or raising awareness so others may avoid repeating our experiences. From warning others of a slippery floor to raising awareness of breast cancer, it is our moral duty to help others learn from our mistakes.
"If a mistake is not a stepping stone, it is a mistake."
A perfect example of what I'm talking about is the story of Joel. His family has suffered greatly from premature forward-facing and are doing what they can to prevent other families from sharing their experience.
Some people are not open to hearing that they're doing something dangerous with their child, but you know what? I'd rather lose a friendship over my activism than see a child lost to a stupid mistake that could easily be prevented.
"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."
What I find sad is when someone denies that there is a problem and they get defensive at the suggestion of such. Pointing out that your child is riding dangerously is not an attack on you, your parenting, or your intellect. We're not born with an instinctual knowledge of carseat safety and there currently isn't a nation-wide campaign advocating safe carseat usage. I don't think poorly of you for not knowing how to safely use a carseat. We all have to learn somehow. I use to be ignorant of carseat safety too, after all.
Alexander Pope said, "To err is human; to forgive, divine". Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Be grateful that you have learned from those errors. Own it, correct it, and help others avoid making the same mistake.
"A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than he was yesterday."
To "put my money where my mouth is", here are a couple examples of my past ignorant mistakes. I was lucky to have learned from other's experiences and correct what I had been doing without experiencing any harm firsthand.
The only thing not wrong with this photo is that my daughter was rear-facing. Luckily we didn't get into an accident with her strapped in like that or she would have gone flying. The seat wasn't even installed properly; it wobbled with every bump.
Within a month of taking this photo I had learned about carseat safety, thanks to those "carseat nerds" on the BabyCenter community.
(A visual guide to carseat safety can be found here).
My husband soon learned about carseat safety through me. Now he takes his time adjusting the carseat straps just so when he buckles in our daughter. He loosens the straps, then pulls them tight again and adjusts the position of the chest clip every single time.
Just the other day he mentioned wanting a decal for our van to promote basic carseat safety. He learned that we were doing something unsafe and how he wants to help others avoid our mistake. (I love that man!)
This picture was taken a few days ago in my mother's van.
Now that's better! The carseats are installed so securely that they don't budge even if we try to shake them. The straps pass the "pinch test" and the chest clips are at the chest. Our daughter's chest clip could stand to scoot up a bit, but overall this is pretty good. The only unsafe thing left that I see are the potential projectiles. (If you see anything else, please let me know!)
Another mistake I've corrected is how I use a ring sling. It wasn't horrible before, but how I do it now is safer and more comfortable.
The rings were too low and my daughter was positioned poorly. Thanks to help from online babywearing communities, I slowly improved. I still don't get it consistently right, but I've definitely gotten better.
"Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom."
I'm sure I'll have more realizations and corrections to make in the future. Life is a journey of constant learning and I welcome that.
What are some lessons you've learned and changes you've made? Have you ever helped someone else realize a fault and make a change of their own?