Sometimes I feel in life that many of us try to be perfect. We feel we’re not good enough in our job, in our personal life, working out, or other hobbies. We apologize for shortcomings. We get down on ourselves. I admit it. Sometimes I’m one of them.
I sometimes wonder, when did this all start? Did my parents put pressure on me? Did my teachers? Society? I remember back to when I was in 4th grade. I had a project due for school about Native Americans. I had made some sort of diorama and it was on the desk in my bedroom before I went to sleep. In the middle of the night, my mom woke to find me sitting at my desk, crying, and saying it wasn’t good enough. Really, I don’t remember this night, but I do remember my mom telling me about it and it has been something that has stayed with me forever. The thing is, my parents didn’t pressure me. They always wanted me to try my hardest and I never got in trouble for making a mistake. So where did the pressure come from?
Fast forward to present day. I have two boys, a 4th and 6th grader. My 6th grader worries like nobody else. He gets down on himself when he makes an error in baseball. He always has to be right. He goes in for extra help in math when his scores aren’t as high as he wants them. I worry he’s just like me. And believe it or not, I don’t expect him to be perfect. I just want him to put forth his best effort in whatever he does. If he can walk away saying I tried hard and I stayed positive, then I’m happy.
As a leader in education, I want to do my best. I know there is definitely pressure on me to do well, but really, no one expects me to be perfect. No one is. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to realize you could’ve done something better if you had another chance. I shared this with all the 5th graders last week at school. I told them that I expect them to follow the rules and try their best. I expect them to be kind to others. But I also know they are going to make mistakes. It’s part of life. Everyone makes mistakes. But what I want from them is to keep trying. Be better than who they were yesterday. Learn from their mistakes. Grow as a person.
So who knows where the feeling of needing to be perfect comes from. Maybe it's just something we create inside ourselves. Maybe it's a combination of genetics and society. I do know though, that what I strive for as an adult, should be the same as I want for my kids. I hope well all remember...