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Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Good and the Not So Good: Meeting Error with Dignity

The media tends to take a right or wrong stance when it comes to individuals.

When someone does something right, the media holds them up on a pedestal. And when someone does something wrong, the media is quick to crucify the individual.

It's a horrible reality, and one that stands in the way of the truth that we're all a mix of good and not so good--none of us are without our tribulations and none of us are without our good too.

Of course, there is the not so good, that's really bad and terrible, and we need to steer clear of that endeavor and help our loved ones and colleagues steer clear of those evil acts as well.

Then there are those acts that are terrible or even not so terrible, but wrong just the same. We all make those kinds of mistakes, some small and some not so small. When issues of error occur, withstanding self-serving violent and harmful acts, it's not a time to crucify, but instead a time to look deeply at the reason for error and then work to make appropriate corrections.

As I wrote earlier this week, what was right a few years ago could be wrong today. Systems, expectations, rules, laws, and protocols change over time. Not everyone is up to speed on all those changes, and often we learn about the change by erring and then correcting our errors.

When we see the world in right or wrong instead of a more holistic and progressive notion of evolution and change, we make the mistake of denying so much good and potential due to a misstep, error, mistake, or bad deed. That's not to excuse error, particularly error based on bad judgement that hurts another individual, but meant instead, to look at error with a deeper, more humane lens. Though inexcusable, error never mirrors a whole person and all of those person's acts over time.

Humans are attracted to the drama of error and the crucifixtion of those that err. I'm sure that there are a large number of psychology articles and studies written about why this is true.

Rather than focus on that perspective, however, I beg us to call forth our humanity instead, and see error, misjudgement, and mistake as part of the human course, and meet those acts with sensitive, dignified analysis, change, and movement to a better course of action. Do you agree?