by Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew
On this past week, I moderated a panel discussion that included some of the most brilliant women that were physicians and medical professionals. There was one word that I continuously stumbled and slaughtered— ‘obstetrics’. For the life of me, I couldn’t get it out of my mouth correctly. Instead of being embarrassed, I owned my mistake. Even with a PhD, I don’t know everything, can’t do everything, and still realize how much I don’t know. A dear friend reminded me of my challenge when she posted that as a public speaker, she messed up recently as well by saying “um” repeatedly.
Mistakes happen. We don’t always do our best. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t feel the need to be embarrassed by my faults and failures. I’m human and I make a lot of mistakes. Some of them I’m aware of and others are brought to my attention. Instead of hiding behind shame or my ego, I learn from it, do better and move on. I’ve learned how to give myself grace. As a young adult, I didn’t have the wisdom to understand the unrealistic expectations I was placing on myself to get everything right and as a result, I set the bar high for others.
I didn’t extend grace to myself, and others were not given the grace to fail or do better, either. As a society, I find that we want grace for our errors, but we are not as compassionate with others who fail. I’ve been guilty of this, too. I want to be forgiven but so often, I might be reluctant to forgive as quickly. My daughter just turned 21 years old, the same age as Sha ‘Carri Richardson. As I look at my daughter discovering her voice and vision, I realize that she has so much still to learn. She’s witnessed and experienced a lot in her short time on the planet and there is so much more she will go through.
Despite her brilliance, she has made choices and decisions that have raised my eyebrow and my blood pressure at times. She’s young. I often remind her that some of the wisdom you gain isn’t in books, it’s through living and in 21 years, there is still a lot of learning, living, loving, laughing and loss that she will experience. As I saw Sha ‘Carri trending on Twitter coming in last in the 100-meter race and withdrawing from the 200 meter, the posts that followed were not only appalling but laced with so much meanspiritedness.
They harped on her previous comments failing to recognize what this young woman has endured. They failed to realize that despite her talent, she still has a life ahead of her filled with more growth and life lessons. They didn’t give her grace. They only saw her problems and failed to see the possibilities and potential within. Maybe it’s because we reflect to others what exists within us. I’m so grateful that God doesn’t treat us the way we treat others. I’m glad that God has expectations for our lives and yet, recognizes our weakness and that we will fail and fall short (Romans 3:23).
Sometimes repeatedly. It’s interesting that in the story of the woman at the well in John 4:1-3 (MSG) the Pharisees “were keeping count of the baptisms that he and John performed (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing). They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people.…” Instead of focusing on improving themselves, they created mess—a typical technique of distraction. Jesus leaves and goes to Samaria where he encounters a woman at the well. In their conversation, Jesus reveals his awareness of her multiple husbands and current in house lover.
He doesn’t condemn her for this. Jesus says to her (John 4: 23-24 MSG), “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship…” Could it be that our blessings are limited because we are not honest with ourselves which impacts our worship and relationship with God?
If we are honest, much of the rhetoric we are seeing is not necessarily about the confidence of Sha ‘Carri. It’s interesting that Muhammad Ali did the exact same thing in talking about his ability as a strategy to deal with the media and his opponents. The rhetoric today is really about a society that relishes in the failure of others, that fails to see their own inadequacies and prefers to place athletes on pedestals than to realize that they are human. Give the girl some grace….
Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the Founder and CEO of Soulstice Consultancy,
Specializing as a Partnership Broker and Leadership Expert for companies and organizations to thrive with measurable and meaningful impact.
She also is the VP of Community Affairs and Strategic Alliances for the State Fair of Texas.