Posted by: Anne | August 25, 2012

winning, losing, and lessons learned

Our fourth grade spelling bee had begun, and I was excited because, while I was awkward in many areas, I considered myself an above average speller. Finally, here was an activity where I could shine.

My first turn came, and the teacher announced my word, including it in a sentence for clarity. “Its. As in, ‘The car dropped its transmission.'”

Alright, an easy one! I thought. I spelled the word with confidence. “I-T-apostrophe-S.” Without another look at me, the teacher turned to the next person on the other team and repeated the word, indicating that I was incorrect.

Eliminated from that round, I took my seat, stunned to discover that I was wrong and embarrassed at having missed such a seemingly simple word.

That loss made such an impression on me that to this day I remember *clearly* that its, when possessive, does NOT have an apostrophe. (I’ve come to think of it as part of the possessive “series:” his, hers, its.)

Hmm. Do you think that’s the point of spelling bees? That you (hopefully) retain some of the words?

Needless to say, I can recall other mistakes in my past – much more serious than an incorrect answer – where I made a bad choice, and messy consequences followed. Disappointment. Shame. Loss.

However, I’ve come to the place where I don’t regret those experiences as much. Oh, sure, it would’ve been better to have done the right thing in the first place, but sometimes – apparently! – nothing short of a fiasco will get my attention. Sometimes I have to get it wrong before I know how to get it right. And I can either mourn the mistake for the rest of my life, or I can consider that, if I’ve truly learned a lesson, maybe it was worth it.

Just like that spelling bee. “I-T-apostrophe-S” one fall that undeniably left its mark.


  1. Reblogged this on video juliet and commented:

    I wrote this today for my “inspirational” blog, and I decided to share it here.

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