As parents, do we strive for perfection? If so, why? What does it mean to be perfect? Does it mean we must always know the right answer, must always be the best, must always succeed, must always be correct? Does that sound realistic and is that what we want to be teaching our children? Or is it ok to be wrong, to make mistakes, to ask for help, to apologize?
An analogy - when you work out in the gym, do you get stronger, faster, or develop more endurance by doing the exercises you can execute perfectly and with ease? No. Our muscles need to be challenged. Our muscles need to be taken to the next level in order to grow. We need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, outside of our own mastery in order to get stronger.
As parents, we are constantly facing new challenges, within ourselves, with our children, with our partner, with work, etc. If our goal is to be perfect, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, frustration, and stagnation. Alternately, if we can seek out the value of imperfection, we can find achievement, success, motivation, confidence, and more in the most challenging of situations.
What is the value of imperfection? The willingness to make a mistake. The ability to apologize. The desire to learn and grow. Through our own imperfection we are able to evolve. And better yet, we are able to model for our children that it is ok to be imperfect. It is ok to make mistakes. We get to show them what it looks like to recover, rebuild, and try again. What life skills and characteristics could our children learn from watching us embrace our own imperfection? My [very] short list includes: humility, respect, confidence, resiliency. There are so many more. The next time you feel you've made a mistake, rather than feel discouraged, remind yourself that mistakes are beautiful opportunities to learn (and teach). What a gift!