Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I am beginning to think you are in my life to help me mend my perfectionist ways. Someday you may know about all the blogs, websites, and books that I read, looking for activities for us to do together. You may or may not eventually realize that you almost never complete a project the way these resources tell me you will. You do not care much about how I've presented a project to you, but instead care about what you want to do with the resources in front of you. I dearly do not want you to inherit my perfectionism, so I sit on my hands and bite my tongue to keep myself from telling you how something is "supposed to be done."
For example, on Sunday I was showing you how to glue little scraps of tissue paper onto a pickle jar to create a candle holder. You seemed to be enjoying the activity, but you didn't just want the little pieces of tissue I had cut for you. You wanted to cut your own pieces, with your scissors. You didn't just want the bowl of watered down glue I'd given you, you wanted me to hand you the glue bottle so that you could squeeze increasing amounts into the bowl. Then you wanted me to cut long strips that you could wind around the jar, instead of just using the little squares that I had provided.
Try as I might not to, on these occasions I always think how no one on the blogs, websites, or books I've read talk about children who won't want to follow the directions or use your materials as they've been provided...and really, what does it matter? So I listen to you, and cut a long, slim piece of red tissue paper for you (your favorite color) and you wind it all the way around the glass and paint it on. Afterward, you look at what you've done, smile, and say, "Look how beautiful it is." Would you have reacted like that if I'd forced you to only use my sad little squares of paper? If I'd told you that my way was the only way? Probably not.
I hope you will continue to challenge me, little one. Help me to see outside the lines. Help me to see that some things do not need to be done the way the directions say, or be the way I feel it it is "supposed" to be. I warn you, I may be resistant at first, but I want you to know I'm trying. I want to learn not to let the little things matter so much to me, and to see the beauty in my own ideas and creations, as I do in you.
I love you,