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edu180atl: becca emerson 10.20.11

Mistakes.  They’re not fun to make.  Especially when people that look up to you and respect you see your mistakes.  People tell me that I’ll learn from my mistakes, but it seems impossible to learn from embarrassment.

Today, I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Everyone whom I entrusted with my secret told me to forget about it and move on. The more people tried to diminish the importance of my mistake, the more important it became to me. I just could not forget about it.

Then later today I told my friend what had happened. She told me that the exact same thing happened to her once! We talked about all the mistakes we had made in our lives. That discussion really brought us closer and helped me to realize that I am not alone.

This discussion with my friend helped me learn the difference between sympathy and empathy.  Sympathy is when people feel sorry for you and want you to be happy.  They want you to feel good but don’t know how to make you feel good. Empathy means someone putting herself in your place and knowing exactly how you feel.  Empathy helps you move on.

I have learned that people can forgive me, and with empathy, I can eventually forgive myself.

Becca Emerson is a seventh grade student at Renfroe Middle School.  She enjoys her teachers and learning to better express her ideas in writing.  Becca likes to escape reality by playing volleyball at Atlanta Boom.  She is learning to live with her mistakes.  

Art work by Renfroe eighth grade student, Laurie Ray.

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Stephen G. Kennedy #

    I love this post….The comment about learning from mistakes but having trouble learning from embarrassment is made wonderfully! We can learn from embarrassment — but sometimes it hardly seems worth it….

    The depth of feeling and the life experience displayed in this writing is moving. Whatever the mistake is, the writer’s ability to connect deeply with a friend means that relationship can save us from becoming isolated in times of pain and suffering. We too often withdraw when embarrassed and humiliated – but the writer found she could endure by reaching out, learning about empathy, and seeing that another human being can keep us from feeling lost in ourselves.

    I applaud the candor, the articulation, and the insight here — please keep writing, keep feeling, and keep reflecting on your experience. You have much to say, and much to offer!

    October 20, 2011
  2. Thank you for this, Becca. I love the way you capture what empathy is… Great job!

    October 20, 2011
  3. etown857 #

    Love this post for its honesty and love the accompanying art. Keep writing and keep drawing.

    October 20, 2011
  4. Derrick L. Thomas #

    Excellent post…way to go Becca from your proud Principal, Mr. Thomas and beautiful artwork Laurie.

    October 21, 2011
  5. Becca,

    This is a tremendously powerful post! One of the things we all struggle with is giving ourselves permission to be human (that is, to make mistakes) and then permission to move beyond. I have found in my life that those who show empathy do indeed help me move beyond the mistake and towards forgiveness.

    You sound like an incredibly wise seventh grader, and one who has great empathy for others. Do keep writing as Stephen suggests above–your voice will be a light for many!

    October 21, 2011

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