It’s OK to be wrong.
We live in a world where everyone has opinions and absolutely no one is shy about sharing them, whether we want to hear them or not. (Hyperbolic, I know!) With a 24-hour news cycle, internet sites, and everyone’s favorite social me- dia, everyone will let you know what they think in no uncertain terms.
So it was rather invigorating for me to stumble across an article from the New York Times about “pundit accountability.” It is about some experts admitting that they have made errors.
In the article, the leading epidemiologist for Johns Hopkins University, had written a tweet last March about how Texas’ abandonment of their mask mandate would result in a surge in cases.
Two months later, in May she wrote this: I was really worried about Texas’ decision to lift mask requirements. I am happy to report that cases don’t appear to have increased as I feared they would. I like having been wrong about this.
The article goes on to say: This small exercise in self-accountability highlighted the inherent unpre- dictability of this virus. Her tweet made a larger point, too: People with a public platform should be willing to admit when they’re wrong. (Emphasis mine)
The problem of course is that they often don’t. And what is worse, is that they even double down on their mistakes.
Don’t get me wrong, I count on listening to the experts. Just this last week, our principal, Mrs. Galuzzo and I met with various health profession- als from our parish (we are blessed to have several) about the continuing challenge of dealing with the Covid virus in our school. It was a re- freshing discussion, honest, straightforward, practical and, in my opinion, oddly hopeful. They were committed to keeping our children in school as well as keeping our children safe and healthy. That group has helped us make wise and life- giving decisions as we struggle through the next few critical weeks of the pandemic.
The thing that was most hopeful is that this team realized that no one person has all the answers because, like my favorite epidemiologist from Johns Hopkins has taught me, this virus in very unpredictable. Again quoting from the article: There is no shame in being wrong at times. Eve- rybody is, including knowledgeable experts. The world is a messy, uncertain place.
The only way to be right all the time is to be si- lent or say nothing interesting. The problem isn’t that people make mistakes; it’s that so few are willing to admit it.
Uh, can I get an AMEN?
Here’s is the kicker. Some people think that it is a sign of weakness admitting your mistakes or miscalculations. In fact, the exact opposite is true. When someone is obviously wrong and then willfully and arrogantly STAYS wrong, that is a sign of a blatant inability to grow and mature. Stubbornness is not an attractive character trait. We can only build trust by being honest by admit- ting our mistakes. It’s is OK to be wrong.
I was going to go on with a list of things that peo- ple from both sides of the political spectrum got way wrong, but I decided against it. (Bulletins should make you think, not antagonize.) Just know that they are out there and that some pun- dits are STILL hanging on to their (supply your favorite adjective here) opinions.
I personally have been wrong in the past and I plan to make more mistakes in the future. (Get used to it Holy Redeemer!) For in- stance, I could be wrong about all of this. But that’s
how you develop, that’s how you advance.
Luckily, God is not quite finished with me.