The Last Word

By Harry Easton | Posted: Monday March 13, 2023

Mistakes. I know them very well, me being one myself.

My parents like to detest the label of 'mistake', but I see through it. Mum was just wrapping up her first year of law school after returning to Dunedin with my Dad landing a new job, and surprise, I came around. I like to think I’m the best mistake my parents have ever made, but that could be up to interpretation.

I think we sometimes misuse the word mistake. Here’s a refresher, a mistake is an act or judgement that is misguided or wrong. Mistake is often a scapegoat word for us, it softens the blow and makes it seem as if what you did was unintentional. Here’s a paraphrased version of a message myself and a lot of you would have sent after a Friday or Saturday night. "Hey I’m really sorry but I think last night was a mistake," or "hey I’ve made a really big mistake." We need to be more real boys, was what you did a mistake? Or a choice?

As teenage boys we are inclined to make a plethora of mistakes, it’s part of our experience. It’s how we handle these mistakes that allow us to genuinely learn and grow into young men, where we will continue to make mistakes, but hopefully not the same as those which we made prior.

A common phrase is, 'the same mistake made twice, is a choice'. I personally don’t believe this to a certain extent. I think if someone repeats the same mistake once, they obviously just haven’t learnt. If it is repeated constantly, it’s not a mistake, it’s a conscious decision to go and do something stupid. Therefore, there are only so many times that we are able to label something as a mistake.

With our mistakes come consequences, some more major than others. Last year I made a pretty big mistake. I ended up hurting someone I really cared about and my consequence was pretty much being put in the doghouse and having to grovel my way back in. You’d think I wouldn’t go back and make this mistake again, but almost half a year later, I was back doing the same stupid thing. This time it couldn’t have possibly been labelled as a mistake. After this I knew that I had to get my act together and change what I had been doing. I learned a lot from this, and it enabled me to change my ways.

I feel like mistakes are often shed in a bad light like I have done throughout this speech, but from mistakes come some pretty good things. In order for us to learn, we have to make mistakes. We are often afraid of making mistakes which may result in failure, but in order to get anywhere we have to evolve through our mistakes and use the lessons we learn. Out of mistakes can come great things, such as opportunities or even just better outcomes.

Mistakes are good. I make mistakes all the time and try to own up to them or face them head on. Mistakes aren’t the be all or end all, they can be utilised. We can look back on what we’ve done, dissect it, process it and decide what we’re gonna do. Are you gonna try fix it, learn from it or just forget about it and do it again sometime?

We need to muck up in life. Stuff happens but we need to manage and face up to what we do and not cower behind words like mistakes. We need to learn and grow, especially in this period of our lives. So in order to do that, we have to make mistakes and who knows what may come of them? Hopefully not any children just yet, but maybe the birth of new revelations and habits!