I can’t remember where I was, but at some point last week I was walking into a store as a mom and her two kids were walking out.

“People are human, mom,” the boy said to his mother. “We all make mistakes.”

The boy’s tone was kind, his voice soft. He was holding his mom’s hand and looking up into her eyes. He was not more than six or seven years old.

I passed them and, even though I wasn’t sure what was being discussed, I smiled. Maybe he was the youngest Human League fan ever. Maybe he was mimicking something he’d heard her say before, or maybe — just maybe — he was giving her advice and trying to be a voice of reason.

They say that kids often see things with an element of clarity that adults lack. They say their innocence and honesty is abundant. I think this is what I witnessed.

Isn’t it funny how the years march on and we manage to tote a heavier and heavier load while trying to keep pace? The passing of time is no match for the burdens we carry. It will move on without us, unless we’re able to cast away the negativity, the pessimism and the measuring stick we hold tightly to in order to determine our worth compared to others’.

We can beat ourselves up and hold tight to our past indiscretions, relive them in our darkest hours and cling to them as though they define us, or we can set them free — and set ourselves free in the process.

Easier said than done, yes. Always. But hearing a child tell an adult — his mom, no less — that we all make mistakes was a fantastic reminder to ease up on myself whenever I get too far down that dark hallway.

After all, we’re human.

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