Sunday, June 17, 2012

Celebrating Perfect Imperfection

As a recovering perfectionist, I still sometimes get caught up in my perfectionism.  That was the case with this post.  Though my buddies and I have done many blog worthy activities, I could not put together the words in a manner worthy to make up this one post. 

As a grandmother, I have much greater insight into how perfectionism can affect our children than I did as a mother.  As a young mother, I allowed my perfectionism to get in the way of parenting my daughters too many times.  Perfectionism will kill enthusiasm every time.

I love to garden.  Flowers in particular.  I tried many times to involve my girls in planting but they were never really interested.  My grandchildren, however, and especially my grandaughter loves it as much as I do.  Why? Because I let them garden their way.  With my daughters, I always specified how, what and where to plant each plant.  Everything had to be perfect.  My grandchildren are not held to such ridiculous standards.  So, my flowers may not be planted exactly as I would have planted them.  Some have been planted too close together, some too far apart, some too deep and some too shallow.  But I have a 6 year old granddaughter that shares my love of gardening. She is learning to identify flower names and asks to take home my plant books.   And my flowers are perfect in their imperfection.


Perfectionism is a disease.  It corrupts our thinking and paralyzes our actions.  It leaves us feeling as though anything less than perfect is unworthy and a waste of time.  As parents, we pass this onto our children all the time.  We pass it on when we constantly correct our children's attempts at tasks by re-doing it the "right" way or by never lettting them try because we can do it better, or faster. We pass it on when we praise their accomplishments and achievements and forget about the struggle to get there.  We pass it on when we don't acknowledge our own mistakes or failures as learning experiences. 

It's hard not to push our perfectionism on our children.  We want, so very badly, for them to have everything, to do everything and be everything they want to be.  It's hard to believe that being perfect won't get us there.  But it doesn't.  When you are a pefectionist, you fear failure so much that you don't want to try unless you can get it perfect. That's the paralyzing part of perfectionism.  And if you don't try, you can never succeed.  At anything.  And no matter how well you do something, you will always know it could be better.  And you won't be happy with it as it is.

This is my 100th post on My Buddies and I. I thought it had to be perfect. It's not. But I'm learning to celebrate it's perfect imperfection!

This week, with your children, I hope you will let them try their hand at doing the things you love.  I hope you will let them do it their way and share their enthusiasm in the process.  I hope that you will view the results as perfect in their imperfection.

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