There is no perfect parenting is there? Parents in each generation look at the mistakes of the last, correct what they perceive to be egregious, and continue on to make their own mistakes.
Today I am just thinking about perfection. Period.
I am hoping you know the difference between the perfection of who you are, born as a flawless soul and worthy within yourself of that description; and the futility of striving for perfection as a person in daily life. I couldn’t have taught you that by example or as a parent, because I still don’t fully comprehend my own worth.
Judging by current parenting standards and what I now understand, I would have been affirming you in your daily life and your spirit journey through it. Instead I fell into the trap of praising you for what you presented: your beauty, your intelligence, and your achievements. I didn’t understand the profound difference. I didn’t see that this might make you feel as if you needed to cling to these attributes in order to be loved.
Neither did I understand then that I could have let you flower and grow as a person without such concern over what you did. I could have taught you consequences without teaching you to reach for perfection. Perhaps I could even have taught you that perfection is an impossible goal and that seeking it corrodes us from the inside out.
It creates our shame. It teaches us to hide our vulnerability. It is a continual reminder that we are not enough.
Perhaps I could have helped you understand that I love you the way you are even as I recognize the imperfections that plague you along the way. I could have laughed at my own flaws and taught you joy and happiness. I could have led you toward self-acceptance rather than toward constant striving.
It’s hard to comprehend, isn’t it? Being a perfect soul and still realizing that we are far from perfect when held to a cultural standard, whether that culture is our family, our community or that great “they” out there? And that it is all okay? It is an enigma whose answers pop into view and disappear again.
I don’t have the answers. I’m only writing this to let you know that you are secure with me. You are safe in the arms of my love and acceptance. You needn’t do anything to earn your place. Your successes and your failures are all the same to me…a part of the pathway of life.
Today I’m thinking that seeking perfection is an imperfection in itself.