How I Made a ‘Huge’ Mistake and Was Forgiven

Some days are difficult. Unexpected things happen, and mistakes are made. Clouds blow in and blot out the usual sunshine of our days, and we feel miserable. We let those mistakes overwhelm us. We get bogged down in woe, unable to move on, not because others fail to forgive us, but because we can’t forgive ourselves.

Last week I wrote (in my notebook) a list of my top ten tips for joyful unschooling. I added ‘forgive instantly’ to this list, not realising that a ‘huge’ mistake was looming on the horizon. Soon we’d be in the perfect position to put this tip into action.

In this week’s podcast episode:

  • I tell you how I made that ‘huge’ mistake
  • And how that mistake turned into a story of love, forgiveness and joyful unschooling
  • I also share some previous story updates
  • And lots of interesting resources!

    Program Notes

    Related blog post

    Back from the Dead
     On my son Thomas’ death day, my computer died. I knocked over a wine glass, and the contents flowed out onto the keyboard. There was a hissing sound, the screen flickered and that was that.



    The Story of Maths
    You might find links on Youtube


    Pain Pus and Poison
    Episode 1 on Youtube: at the time of posting, there are links to the 3 episodes on Youtube
    Associated articles on OpenLearn

    Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
    You might find extracts or links to full episodes on Youtube

    Veritasium Youtube channel

    Periodic Videos: Youtube
    Periodic Videos: website

    The Elements by Theodore Gray


    The Young Writers Treehouse


     60’s Quiz Show by Podington Bear(CC BY-NC 3.0)


    I made a couple of small mistakes while making this episode: (I’ve made a lot of mistakes recently!)

    • I turned Mary Anne Cotton into Anne Cotton.
    • And something went wrong with a tiny section of the audio. Please keep listening. It only lasts for a few seconds!

     And  maybe that original ‘huge’ mistake wasn’t that big a deal after all!

    If you listen to this week’s episode… Thank you very much!

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    1. Reply

      I hope the games and books you rediscovered are a nice distraction while you're waiting to get your laptop back, Sue. It sounds like you found some fun things to strew.

      Thank you for the links – they're always interesting. I hope you have a better week, this week xxx

      1. Reply


        Oh yes, we've been enjoying our rediscovered books! I decided that this would be a good opportunity to use resources not connected with the Internet, but I must admit I'm missing my computer very much. I have lots of writing I want to do. I'd like to write a couple of blog posts and answer some emails, but with limited time on a borrowed computer, it's difficult to work on them. Never mind. Maybe I'll have my computer back by Friday or next Monday.

        I am having a better week, thank you. At least I haven't made any mistakes so far this week!

        Thank you so much for listening and for your comment (and beautiful email.) xxx

    2. Reply

      I'm so sorry set your computer and iPod. I'm notorious for accidents and big mistakes. Once I drove into our mailbox and scraped the side of my husband's nice blue truck and once I closed the garage door on my truck. I've had people drive into me a couple times as well. This has all been spread out over the past 20 years, but still it doesn't sound like a good track record. Maybe I can simply focus on the 20 years of driving that were very uneventful, or fun, or purposeful and see many tiny successes. (h)

      I remember over this past week I heard how the people in Iceland are very creative – something about their freedom to make mistakes and fail. That flies in the face of the perfectionism that seems to get a grip on me on occasion. I talk with my friends a lot about the jail cell of perfectionism. So good for us in making mistakes. It allows others to feel the pressure is off and we are all in this together. So sweet how your family rallied around you to reassure you that you are so dear to them. 🙂

      You look like a powerful runner. I've taken a few jog/walk trips around the lake by our house this summer. Usually I only walk but hearing you talk about being able to run for such a distance has inspired me. The lake by our house is by the university and it is a dog park. Our labradoodle, Harley, loves that lake. He doesn't swim but he does run with the other dogs. He is so fast. I've got to purchase one of those attachments to hook a dog to the bike. When I was little I took my little Pomeranian for a ride like that but it ended up she pulled my bike over and I fell. Another mistake. Maybe with a dog like Harley that weighs 3/4 of my weight I shouldn't attach him to my bike. [-(

      Good chatting with you. Hope you're all well. (o) I sure like those emoticon icons. (Oh and we watched our first video from Pain, Pus, Poison and we thought it was gross and awesome.)

      1. Reply


        Thank you for sharing your own mistakes. After reading your comment, I do feel like we are all in this together! No shame in making mistakes. I do like your words about the people in Iceland. We all make mistakes, but we don't all look at them in the same way. And mistakes give other people opportunities to help us. Imagine if we were all perfect and self-reliant. How terrible that would be!

        You are inspired by my running? Oh yes, run! It is hard work at first but so satisfying. I feel strong and that spills over into other areas of my life. Perhaps you can run with Harley. He sounds like he could keep going kilometre after kilometre. Our dog Nora absolutely loves running. She'll do 5 or 6 km no problem. After a short rest, I;m sure she'd keep on going! Having a dog that needs exercising gets me out the door on those days when I'm feeling a bit lazy. I don't know about the wisdom of attaching Harley to your bike, but maybe he could pull you up any hills as you run along!

        You described Pain, Pus and Poison perfectly. Yes, it was definitely gross and awesome! It's always good to chat with you, Kim. (I love the emoticons too!)

    3. Reply

      Fantastic podcast Sue and such an honest and heartfelt sharing. Making mistakes is hard, we are hard on ourselves when we mess up and in my case not very tolerant on others making mistakes either!

      Sending you a hug

      San xx

      1. Reply


        Oh yes, making mistakes is indeed hard. I kept thinking, "If only I could go back a couple of minutes…" It was hard to accept what I'd done. Thank you for listening to my podcast and for the hug! xx

    4. Reply

      I am so sorry about your screens, and I'm so glad you're all right. But what a beautiful example of unconditional love from your family!

      Thanks also for all the links, this was a wonderful podcast!

      1. Reply


        I'm happy to report all my screens are now fixed. Life has returned to normal! I suppose my mistake gave my family an opportunity to show me their beautiful unconditional love. I just wish my mistakes hadn't been so expensive! Never mind. It could have been worse.

        Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode!

    5. Reply

      Beautiful podcast Sue, we are so blessed to have loving and caring families, I think it's God's special way of ensuring we Mums are looked after 🙂
      I hope you have a happy week, God bless.

      1. Reply


        Oh yes! We are very blessed indeed. We see this clearly during difficult times. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you are enjoying the weekend. God bless!

    6. Reply

      Sue, this episode really resonated with me. I know well the horrible feeling of making a mistake, and the wonder of forgiveness. Thanks for sharing your story.

      1. Reply


        "The wonder of forgiveness". I've been pondering your words. They are perfect! Thank you for sharing them in your kind comment. I am so pleased you listened!

    7. Reply

      Oh, this post makes me so very curious. I wonder what your big mistake migth be, and rejoice that all seems to have ended well. I'm so sorry I'm unable to hear yiour podcasts. Pleas eweite some more.

      1. Reply


        I cracked the screen of my laptop. My headphones got caught inside the computer when I closed it. It was an expensive mistake. I'd cracked the screen of my iPod a few days earlier when I fell over while running down a steep section of bush track. The two screens cost a lot of money to repair. All my husband said was, "Don't worry, we'll get them fixed." I was very upset about the whole situation at the time, but felt so blessed when everyone empathised with my mistake instead of telling me I should have been more careful. I was without my computer for a few days while it was being repaired. I missed it!

        I'm sorry you weren't able to listen to the whole story. It was easier to tell it in a podcast, but I understand how a blog post would have suited you better.

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