Mila Hager may only be in second grade, but she's already got one of life's important lessons mastered.
During the fourth hour of TODAY on Tuesday, co-host Jenna Bush Hager shared a message her oldest child, 7, had sent to her teacher after completing a challenging activity during remote learning. The conversation was prompted by fellow co-host Hoda Kotb's "Hodavation" segment, where she shared with viewers a new favorite quote of hers: "Mistakes are proof that you are trying."
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"Think about your biggest flubs," Hoda said. "I think about that all the time. Sometimes, kids who want to be journalists will ask about that kind of thing, and I remember many, many, many times in my career thinking it was over. I did a live shot that was so bad there's no way I couldn't be fired, and I remembered coming back from the live shot, kind of sheepish and wondering, 'Was that it?' ... But every single belly-flop brings you closer."
Jenna was then reminded of working with Mila on her homework the night before and played a recording of her daughter's voice that she'd sent to her teacher.
"I had fun doing this activity," Mila says. "I hope it's right, but I don't care if it's not because you just learn from your mistakes and try to remember next time to do your best. Thank you, I had really fun doing this activity. I do it with my mom, and it's really fun."
In response, the teacher wrote, "You are wise beyond your years."
"You're doing something right," Hoda immediately told Jenna.
"It was spelling!" Jenna exclaimed. "I wouldn't have thought it was fun in second grade. ... How do we just continue to parent our kids where they're not afraid to put themselves out there?"
"I think you just set the foundation," Hoda answered.
Jenna replied, referencing her own upbringing with her twin sister, Barbara.
"I always feel like the best thing my parents ever gave to Barbara and me was the chance to fail," she reflected. "We didn't need to be anybody but us, and believe me, that was awkward. There were moments where we did fail. And as a mom now, (I'm) like, 'Thank goodness they allowed us that,' because if we were expected to be perfect, I would not be sitting here because I would not have the guts to do this job every single day."