"Once you accept the fact that you're not perfect, then you develop some confidence." - Rosalynn Carter
Most of us judge ourselves harshly. We're so far from perfect. We overslept,
ate that cake, forgot to return a phone call, snapped at our spouse, yelled at
our kid, didn't feed him a hot breakfast, hustled him out the door so fast he forgot
his homework. And while we're judging ourselves, how's the kid turning out?
Not so perfect either?
Nothing makes us more anxious than whether our children
are turning out okay.
But perfection is too low a standard. Why not use love as your yardstick?
Can you create more love in the world today? Can you forgive yourself for
all those inevitable human missteps -- and just keep turning yourself around so
you're on the right track again? Can you remind yourself that your child
isn't perfect because he or she is human, and an immature, still developing human
What kids need from us is the space to be imperfect, to be loved and accepted exactly as they are. That's the only place any of us can start from to grow.
So can you adore your child exactly as he is today? Sure, you want to guide
him, that's your job: "Here's how we wait our turn at the slide...Here's how you work out with your sister how to share the toy...We brush our teeth every night..." But
offering that guidance with humor and understanding is very different than guiding
from fear ("Is there something wrong with him?"). Fear shades so quickly
into criticism and gives your child the message that somehow he just isn't quite
Instead, can you guide today with faith that your child is blossoming and growing
all the time, becoming her best self? What she needs from you, more than
teaching, is the emotional nutrients to thrive: unconditional love, joy in
who she is, faith in the friendliness of the universe and in her own goodness and
ability to grow.
So today, use the challenges of life to create love where there wasn't any before.
Let go of fear and perfectionism. Choose love. Embrace your imperfect self
with compassion. Meet your child heart to heart, delighting in who he is,
imperfections and all. Focus on all the things you love about him. Chalk
the "imperfections" (yours and your child's) up to learning experiences, and use
them to get back on track.
And start aiming higher than perfection. Aim for unconditional love.