Dear friends, I recently completed a year of doing my column “Parenting on Purpose” and I’ve written my last article, at least for now. It has been a wonderful year and I have very much appreciated your support! It has been so gratifying to hear from you, and answer questions you’ve had regarding the very important […]
Most people don’t claim to be perfect. You may admit to be good or even excellent at some tasks, and you may consider yourself to be a good person. By your very nature as a human being, you admit to not being perfect as human beings just aren’t designed to be. Yet you may find yourself striving for perfection and many people think that is a good thing.
As a parent, it’s natural for you to want to set good examples for your children. You also want your children to have a ‘better life’ than you did — even if you’ve had a pretty good one. In some ways, you might want your children to have perfect lives, even though your logical brain knows this isn’t likely.
The first thing to consider is what you mean by perfection. When you define perfection as being without flaws, then how can anyone think that perfection of the self is possible? Is perfection defined as being better than those around you at any given task or aspect of self? Yet society and the media hold up examples of bodily perfection as well as perfection in athletics, business, and politics, but people wind up disappointed over and over again when real humans are revealed behind the golden masks. It can be a difficult measure for children to compare themselves to.
One way to learn and grow as a human being is to explore and discover what you like and don’t like by way of trial and error. It isn’t called ‘trial and success’ for good reason. You have to fall down in order to learn to walk. It’s required for your muscles to get stronger, just as the butterfly must push against the walls of the chrysalis to strengthen its wings in order to free itself and fly away.
Failures are an important part of every aspect of your life. They help direct you towards a path suited for your skills and aptitudes. They help you learn how to modify your actions in order to achieve success. They not only make you stronger physically, but intellectually and emotionally as well.
By resisting any temptation to judge your kid’s failures as they’re growing up, you are fostering their future success. You are helping them learn that when they fall, it is not a failure but a invitation to get up and try again. This will apply their whole lives.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ~ Confucius
There are a lot of pressures on children these days to be excellent at what they do. Kids want to please their parents, their teachers, and their coaches. It is important to teach your kids to please themselves.
There is nothing wrong with striving to be better and improving one’s skills and behavior, but when you insist on not doing something unless you can do it perfectly, you’re not fostering perfection. Instead, you’re encouraging stagnation. Both science and sports recognize that the successes in their fields are fewer than the failures, but without the failures there would be no successes.
You can encourage your children to trust their Internal Guidance System (IGS) so that when they fall, it will help them get back up and try again or change course. Your IGS will help keep you aligned with your highest good.
Just as your children want to please you, you want to be strong for them. You want your children to view you as successful. Often that means you hide your failings from your children, in an effort to protect them.
Instead, you may give them the illusion that you’re omnipotent and that they should be, too. This is actually a disservice to your kids and could lead them to feel as though they can never measure up to themselves or others. Instead, you can demonstrate for your kids that while failure in itself is unimportant, how they react to that failure is everything.
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently ~Henry Ford
While your actions and your body might not be perfect, being in alignment with your true self makes you as perfect as you’re meant to be. You are perfectly imperfect, failing and succeeding with intelligence.
Please feel free to comment.
© 2015. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.