Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Secret to Being Good

"The greatest mistake a man can make is to be afraid of making one." ~Elbert Hubbard

My husband regularly marvels at my ability to fix things, create things, just do things. He is forever of the mistaken belief that I have some innate ability to accomplish all things. He could not be more wrong. I didn't climb out of the womb knowing how to refinish a hope chest, sew a quilt, crochet a rug, or assemble some crazy piece of Ikea furniture. The knowledge of how to redo the floors, fix the drip system, and change the oil in my car. So, what the hell? Why can I do these things and he can't?

Want to know the secret? Failure. Well, failure, my lack of fear of it, and a good attitude with which I choose to at once laugh at my foul-ups and learn from them. I screw up more often than I do a good job. So? So what? I mean, what is the real consequence? I can tell you that in my experience, the consequences of not trying at all or of giving up after failing once are far greater than are the consequences of committing blunder after blunder until finding my stride and moving through.

I encourage you to screw up. I encourage you to fight through your fear of failure and allow yourself to really and royally make a mess of things. I encourage you to let go of your unrealistic need for perfection. You're never going to learn that way, you're never going to grow. Practice doesn't make perfect. I want to flick whoever said that and spread it around in the forehead. Practice makes progress.

All that being said, no, I don't take everything lightly as I jump into doing things myself. I won't attempt to fix the clutch on my car. I leave that to the professionals. I will, however, observe and ask questions. I just like the learning process. I'm not going to lay my own carpet. I will help my dad do it, though. I like that stuff. I like knowing how to do things, I like having a variety of skills, and, mostly, I like the feeling of independence when I don't have to ask someone else to take care of a problem for me.

As for me, I enjoy seeing my bloopers. Looking through the things I've done is like reading my own story. I can see how I started, where I was then, and how far I've come since. That's cool to me. Those mistakes aren't ugly to me. Besides, even if they are, by making them, I can better do over what I once fouled up.

Why am I writing this on my parenting blog? Because my son has the same tendencies as my husband. He expects to be good at things right away and tends to freak out and come down hard on himself when he's not. It is one of my primary goals to continue to show him by example not that practice makes perfect, but that it makes progress and that only by not being good right away can we be great later.

"There is no greater bore than perfection." ~Richard Connell

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