February 26, 2013

A parent's idea of "perfection"

Perfection.  A single word loaded with expectations.  

What is perfect to one may have flaws to another.

And this is especially true for parents.  

Oh they may say they just want their child to try their best.  But for many parents, when push comes to shove, they step in to make their child's idea of perfection more like their own.

You see it at science fairs, on art projects and in college essays.  Parents claim they are "just helping", but in reality they are doing what they think will make their child's effort just a bit more "perfect".

I've watched friends guide their child's paintbrush so the picture will be more like what the parent had in mind. I've seen kid signatures that looked awfully good...for a three old.  

"Just helping", they'd say. "Just helping".

But are they really?  

Or are they actually just blatantly showing their child that what she or he did was good, but not good enough?

This thought popped into my head as I took my daughter to an art studio to celebrate her 4th birthday.

We picked out a ceramic purse with flowers on it.  Then she picked out all different colors of paint and set to work.

At first, it looked pretty good.  It was pink.  But then she wanted to mix all the colors and it started to turn a unique shade of...brown.

The ceramic flowers in MY head could have been red with a bright yellow center.  But they ended up being the same color as the rest of the purse, which was brown.

When she began to pour a little water on the wet paint, I told her that would dilute the color.

Then she just looked at me square in the face and said, "Mama, can't you just let me do what I'm going to do?"

I sat back, smirked and said "Of course. Do what you want". 

Because in the end, that little brown purse will be a memory of when she was four. 

NOT a memory of her mother trying to force perfection into what was already perfect.

No comments:

Post a Comment