Henrietta Lacks

Why won’t some people admit their mistake

What is it with some people that they can’t admit they’re wrong? Especially when there’s no need not to.  For example, let’s say you show someone an object that is clearly black and they argue that it’s white. What would you think?

Well, I had such an experience with my local librarian. I went to check out a book and because I couldn’t find it on the shelf I asked an assistant to see if it was in fact in the library. If it hadn’t been checked out, then it was probably misfiled and I would just look harder. I told her the name of the author but she couldn’t find it. I spelled it for her,”It’s  L-a-c-K-s,” I said.   

The head librarian overheard me and decided to correct me, even though no one asked him for his advice.

“No, it’s not L-a-c-k-s, it’s L-a-c-h-s,” he said.

“No, I have a picture of the book on my phone”, I said. “It is L-a-c-k-s. Would you like to see it?” I thought I was being helpful. I would have thought that as a librarian he most definitely would want to be corrected about something as important as an author’s last name.

“No”, he curtly replied. “I don’t need to see it. I know how it’s spelled.”

Now here I am looking right at the cover of the book on my phone when he says this. But I couldn’t make him look so I let it go.

The assistant found the book. It was spelled L-a-c-k-s, just like I said. I wanted to take it over to the librarian and throw it at him!. But he was so sure he was right I think he would have still denied what his own eyes would have clearly shown him.

So then I thought, maybe the last name was changed for some reason. I was still trying to give him a break although I don’t know why. I read the intro and about the first fifty pages or so when I got home. The name had always been spelled with an “k”, not at “h”.

What is it with people that they can be so obviously wrong and yet refuse to admit it? Lord, help me if I’m ever that stubborn. I wished I’d shoved it in front of his face and yelled, “It’s L-a-c-K-s!!!!

By the way, here’s the book’s cover.

Henrietta Lacks

Here’s some information from Amazon about the book.

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

It’s a fascinating story and soon to be a movie.

That librarian was gone in a few weeks. I mean how can you be a librarian and be that contrary about the author of a book? Isn’t that what librarians would want to get right?

So won’t people admit their mistakes?

I think there are probably a number of reasons but I’m thinking that pride might be the biggest one. Especially when one should know better.

The librarian absolutely should have known how the author’s name was spelled. It was a very popular book at the time of this incident. For him to have admitted his mistake would have been, in his eyes, a serious blow to his role as a librarian. But it was his pride that got in his way because I wouldn’t have thought any less of him. In fact, I would have thought much higher of him.

As it was, I thought him a very small man.

Pride can be so good when it empowers us to do our best, to be our best. Pride is terrible when it causes rifts in relationships and causes others to disrespect us.

Proverbs 29:23
“A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

As you know if you’ve followed this blog for the past few weeks, my mom died three weeks ago. Three weeks tomorrow to be exact. I so wanted to take her shopping and out to eat the weeks before her stroke. She was still conversant at that time and able to enjoy herself. However, she wouldn’t go if she had to use her walker and believe me when I say, there is no way I could take her out without it. She was an accident waiting to happen.

One day I did manage to get her out on her front steps so she could see her flowers, and when I tried to steady her she told me not to because she didn’t want her neighbors to see she needed help.

So she never left her house those last months. It broke my heart to see how pride stopped her from living her life.

I don’t like admitting when I’m wrong but eventually I do. I do so because I know that pride will lead me down a path I don’t want to take.

Let’s be careful that we’re not so sure of ourselves, we can’t at least consider other options to our strongly held beliefs. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who isn’t very generous when someone admits they’re wrong. I always think higher of a person who admits their mistakes, don’t you?

And when it’s as obvious and easy as it was with the librarian, one has to assume it’s pride because he wasn’t even willing to look at the evidence.  I wonder what he would’ve said when he saw the title and how the author’s name was spelled.

Pride leads to arrogance and that’s exactly what happened to him. His pride made him arrogant.

Pride never stops at just pride. It always “morphs” into other areas. 

Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong about unimportant things and then it won’t be hard to admit your fault with the bigger ones.

And just so you know, I am working on this myself.

God bless and have a good day.