If there’s anything worse than dealing with someone who stubbornly refuses to admit he’s wrong, it’s finding out the hard way that he was right and you were wrong. Most parents find it especially humiliating to be proved wrong by their own children: isn’t Father (and Mother) supposed to know best?
Unfortunately for adult pride, “supposed to” doesn’t guarantee a perfect score every time. Hopefully, you’ve taught your children by instruction and example that saying, “I told you so” (to anyone) is rude and doesn’t help a bad situation. But even if no one else is laughing at you, it hurts to realize you screwed up big time because you wouldn’t consider the possibility that what you “knew” wasn’t so.
Face it, everyone does make mistakes, and the biggest mistake you can make is to get down on yourself for not being an exception to that rule. However, you can minimize unpleasant consequences by learning to head yourself off early when you start in the wrong direction:
Yes, even if they’re five years old and cranky. Don’t be deaf to the “We were supposed to turn there” from the back seat; at least slow down for a closer look before you drive another mile looking for that turn.
Even the parent who acknowledges she missed her turn may be inclined to reject the simplest solution—making a U-turn and going back a block. Instead, it seems “easier” to drive on looking for an around-the-block shortcut. If you’ve ever tried to “cut” through a typical suburban neighborhood, you may be grinding your teeth right now in memory of how that “straight-west” street led you into a labyrinth that finally spit you out back where you entered—if not two blocks behind. Don’t let thoughts of “it would waste time to retrace my steps” derail you into losing even more time.
If the example of getting lost while driving seems outmoded in the GPS age, know that even your GPS can be wrong at times. And even if it isn’t, you can get into trouble automatically turning the second it says “Turn,” if you don’t first check how close your car actually is to the new road.
The question of not believing everything you hear from your GPS—or everything you read on the Internet, or everything you see on television—can be tricky: there are an equal number of sad stories about people who dismissed their navigation system’s guidance and insisted on going the way that looked better. Best rule of thumb: choose information sources known for reliability, and listen to them—but keep your own eyes open as backup, and double-check if you (or your family/passengers/supervisors) have doubts.
And if you still make a huge, or at least an obvious, mistake? Don’t try to deny it: people (including yourself) will respect you much more for acknowledging it. And remember, most mistakes are more humorous than serious. This might make a great story to tell your grandchildren someday!