Sunday, April 24, 2022

My first mistake

 I close my eyes and am there, the scene surrounding me far more completely than any modern media. The yard of my first school with the assembly lines painted on the bitumen where we played cricket at every opportunity. The frangipanis that we later learned could be used to indicate whether girls had boyfriends or not. The sandstone buildings that epitomised the area. And of course the blazing sun that we were only just beginning to be aware of the dangers of. I don’t know what age I am. I guess is 7 or 8. We’re old enough to bat, bowl, and catch. And more importantly argue. “Out” we shout in unison, the ball having landed in my hands. We converge in the middle of the wicket for a brief change of roles before the game continues. “But I caught it, I’m batting” I complain as the bowler takes the bat. The chorus of voices responding to my claim informs me that I won’t be batting.

With the debate over before it started I’m informed that “even in test cricket the bowler gets the wicket” — something that made no sense to my primary school self.

This can’t be my first mistake for I’m sure I’d made many before this event. But for some reason it’s a memory that’s stuck with me, a realisation that a view I held was wrong. I of course continue to make many mistakes, no doubt far more than I’m aware of. To this day I continue to reflect on moments in my day where I’ve changed my views on something — sometimes something small, sometimes something material. To do this well I ask myself three questions:

  1. What did I hear that changed today? What was it that changed my mind? What do I now need to re-evaluate having changed my mind?
  2. What did I consider changing my mind about but didn’t? Did I truly listen with the intent of learning rather than arguing? Was there something that wasn’t said that could have changed my view?
  3. What am I unaware of that I should be listening for? Surely there are interactions in which I am completely unaware that I position I hold is considered wrong to others. I am aware that I have a dominant voice, and that often others are silenced without me even realising it. Am I aware of when this happened today?

I love tying these back to my childhood, a time when learning was without ego and was expected. Why is it that we divide our lives into school (learning) and work (doing)? If we’ve stopped learning, how can we know that we’re doing it right?

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