The origin of Mistake

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

By Mayra Azanza

Before I tell you this story, I need you to answer these questions in your mind:

What was the worst mistake you made as a child and how did you feel about it? How did grown ups around you react to it? Hold that thought. Now please proceed to read our story.

It was in an afternoon like every other, full of small activities that fill up your day-to-day life, making you busy with everything and nothing at the same time. At the dinner table was my then 9 year old daughter Karen. She’s always been artistic, so she was drawing.  All of the sudden, she started frantically erasing on her paper. When I turned around and asked what was going on, her face blushed and she said “Nothing… just a silly mistake”.

Knowing her personality, I know she always strives for perfection.  And as an artist myself, I know that plays against you more often than not. I had witnessed situations like that many times before, where she tried, failed to meet her own expectations and then just quitted because it was not “perfect” so I wanted to send her a message. At that very moment, right after she told me it was nothing but “a silly mistake” I envisioned a little, uneven monster, hiding behind the wall, ashamed and sad because even though it came up to deliver a message, it was yet again denied the opportunity to be met, embraced and learn from, so I went ahead and, using the fabrics in my workshop, made the first Mistake.

When it was finished, Mistake showed up at Karen’s bedroom overnight, with a letter that said:

Dear Karen,

My name is Mistake and I just happen. Nobody plans on me, nobody is expecting me with joy.

Look at me: one leg is different from the other, I have patches of fabric all over my body and my colors don't even match!

But do you know what? I am actually one of your best friends! Through me, you will learn a lot of lessons, discover new abilities, try new ways and get to know yourself a little bit more.

Own me with pride, because making mistakes means that you actually dared to do something new.



Karen loved Mistake immediately and took it with her to school the next day.  Then her teacher called me… I thought she got in trouble for bringing a doll to school, but it was quite the opposite.  The teacher wanted to learn more about Mistake, she loved the concept and commissioned the very first Mistake, that is now part of her 5th grade program about empathy.

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