The Quotophiles

Writer Graham Greene once wrote, “People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations.”  Maybe so. But the Jolly Librarian has found solace in such meaningless generalizations for many years. I’ve also found that other people do as well. So for our Wednesday column this semester, we’re going to take our favorite quotations and put our own spin on them. 

Here’s the first one:

“Rather than admit a mistake, nations have gone to war, families have separated, and good people have sacrificed everything dear to them. Admitting that you were wrong is just another way of saying that you are wiser today than yesterday.”-– Don Ward

Our responses:

Colette: It always strikes me as strange that the things we all share as part of the human experience, like aging, and weakness and making mistakes are still things we are supposed to keep hidden or pretend aren’t happening at all.  You’d think if everyone experiences it at some time, we’d be more open to the concepts. Wouldn’t it be nice to just grow old as we all do, without commercial intervention, or to admit our mistakes and have others say, “I’ve been there. Thanks for owning it”?  

 I tend not to have difficulty admitting when I’m wrong, or when I’ve made a mistake (at least I didn’t that time back in 1998 when I made one :)). My difficulty tends to be in not overly kicking myself for it afterwards.  It’s not that I expect perfection from myself, I know better than that; I just hate it when I’ve been stupid.  I can forgive the stupidity of others much more readily than I can forgive it in myself.

Emily: I don’t know who Don Ward is or what qualifies him to dispense wisdom; therefore, I cannot respond to this quote. (Emily is always the librarian. She is always critically judging her sources. I looked up Don Ward and couldn’t actually find who he is.)

Pam: I’m thankful I don’t have a lot of problems with ‘pride’ issues, which is what this is all about, really. I don’t mind admitting I’m wrong, unless I think I am Not wrong. Otherwise, I’d just as soon learn the truth of the matter and move on with things. 

Sally: I must be wise, because I admit mistakes all the time and I am always wrong.

Jolly Librarian: Once I was quite upset about something that had gone wrong in one of my classes. A colleague said, “Relax. You’re allowed to learn and get better just as much as the students are.” It made sense to me, and I felt foolish that I had not seen it before. Admitting mistakes is certainly a key to growth, but only if we look to see where we made the mistake and then try a different method next time. I see too many people who simply follow up a mistake by doing the same thing, only more of it. So my basic philosophy is this: Be willing to make mistakes. Be willing to admit those mistakes. And then make the necessary changes to prevent them from happening again.

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