Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Perfection Problem

The question is: Where do you draw the line between doing your best and trying to be perfect? Let me tell you, this is not a problem for me. However, I see my five year old, Danya, flirting with disaster sometimes. Danya struggles with the fear of failure. When we ask her a question that she doesn't know the answer to, she gets upset. She's likely to just blurt out anything in the hope that it will be right. She also loves to sing, but panics occasionally when she's expected to perform in public. We try to help her to relax and remember that it's just for fun. She puts alot of pressure on herself to do well. I don't want to smother that tendency, because if used appropriately, it can help her to succeed in life. She just needs to learn to not let that drive for excellence overwhelm and control her.

2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." So I'm trying, through my own actions and words, to teach my girls to do their best, and not leave their work half finished. This doesn't mean I expect perfection. Anyone who's seen my house on a typical day knows that perfection just isn't in my dictionary! It does mean, though, that we need to do a job in a way that we can be proud of. I think public schools have confused ideas of self confidence. Self confidence should stem from the knowledge that you are prepared and capable and that you are a servant of the Almighty God. Public schools instead teach children that self confidence and pride don't come from a job well done, but from just existing. The idea that "you are special and that's all that matters" doesn't give children anything to base their self confidence on. Instead it breeds the feeling that "nobody is better than me" and there is no point in striving for excellence in your work. The bible tells us instead that "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men" (Colossians 3:23, 24) So, that is what we are trying to teach our girls. 1. Do your work with all your heart. 2. Whatever you do, do it well, so that you don't have to feel ashamed. 3. The only one you need to please is God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been reading you blog for a few days now. To be frank, I dont always agree with what you have to say, especially when it comes to the supposed atrocities of the public school system. Additionally my daily life is not back up with religious conventions.

Despite my differences from you I found myself agreeing with this post. Specifically the part that says "Self confidence should stem from the knowledge that you are prepared and capable." I appreciate your perspective on self confidence. Even though I have only gleaned the secular nature of your post... it will affect me , positively, in the course of my day.

Thank you.