Who isn't really? I'm not really a perfectionist, but I am in the way that if I can't complete something how I want to, how it should be, so it's just right, I give up. I don't need to do everything, all the time perfectly but some things. And, so it is with kids.
I have a constant struggle inside of me to either have perfect looking kids on the outside, or "who cares if they're a bit dirty with messy hair", daily, even when going out. It's continuous conflict in wanting them to succeed, in wanting to look like the perfect parent, but to live real life. I look around and see the obsession with success. It's everywhere. Kids are even feeling it. Kian tells me "I can't" before he even tries. I told him it's okay if we don't get it the first or even 10th time. It's a strange dynamic for sure, because there are times I (regretfully so) even want him to experience failure, not winning, as much as I do the successes and wins.
This morning Karter was playing with the (we've all seen it) plastic bottle of milk that you drop the cookies in the slot on the top. He was having trouble with it, mostly because of the way it was turned. Part of me wanted to just turn it and show him how to push them in again. Part of me wanted to see what he could figure out. Guess what? After a few tries, he rearranged his hands and the bottle and did it. This happened several times after it was full and he would dump them out again. He smiled each time he got it and clapped a few times.
So often we jump in and do for our kids before they can even do for themselves. Without thinking, we are robbing them of great skill, brain connection, creativity, problem-solving and pride. All too often I see moms putting that toy back in the child's reach, pulling the toy out of the box, getting them on and off the couch, reaching something they can't, etc. Yes, there is a time for that, but Stop! Sometimes it's okay if they get frustrated and fuss (yes even the little infants, that's how they figure out how to roll and crawl!). It's okay to not succeed every time. For it is in the failures that we truly learn what we need to do to succeed.
It is an opportunity to build a child's esteem, for practicing skills (hello, language? I talk my kids through almost everything, give them words to use -help, please, open, down, blue, in, etc.--as well as motor skills practice). It lets them conquer something. It allows us to stand back, watch what we teach in action. To bite our tongues, see the authentic child for who he is, not who we want him to be or think he should be and a chance for the child to see we will be their biggest cheerleader and supporter whether they succeed, or fail, because they will sometimes. Just like us, and that's okay.
I also see this in my life and when things happen I ask why, I ask why didn't someone or God stop it, or step in? Because, sometimes we just need to fall. Sometimes it's in the picking ourselves up that creates those unforgettable, life-changing moments.