Sunday, August 23, 2015

The price of perfection

"Falling would have been better. I could have gotten up from a physical fall. But being told that failure must be avoided at all costs kept me from ever getting back up on those monkey bars again." 
- from The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

That's lesson number two I've learned about the value of letting kids have small failures early on. The first - from Love and Logic - is the actual learning curve of making a mistake and having to deal with the results. Let kids begin with "small" mistake and consequences before they become "big" mistakes and the consequences much more serious. Let them learn how to consider the consequences of making a particular decision. However, I don't know that I've ever read anything that addresses (in quite this way) the emotional aspect of not requiring perfection and "allowing" mistakes quite like the book I'm reading now. 

Perhaps it struck a chord with me because I am a perfectionist to some degree. And sometimes it prevents me from doing what needs to be done, when all I really need to do is take action. Just start somewhere. But I want to start perfectly. Not go back and have to redo. When that might actually be faster than doing nothing at all. There's a huge cost in expecting this of myself - or of my children. 

I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to remind my older child - earlier this afternoon, before I picked up this book and read this passage - that his worth is not in how well or quickly he can master a skill. I don't love him less because he's not a quick study on my old flute from middle school. He may never be able to play it perfectly, but I also reminded him that his scientific mind may allow him to understand how and why the flute works the way it does better than I probably ever will. He has worth to me because he is who he is, not for what he can do. And I can show him just how much by allowing him to make mistakes, and to do so without criticism, but with guidance and love and encouragement. 

I can't tell you how much more lovely his music was to me - and how much more patience I had for being in that moment with him when he was frustrated - when I just let go of the desire for perfection. Yes, I wanted to be the "perfect" parent in that moment. I think I did an ok job. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's gonna be okay, Mama

I received compliments on my son's behavior three days in a row last week/weekend. Friday - at the end of Lego camp, from the camp director. Saturday - when we picked him up from a friend's bar mitzvah - from the parents, the lady who was running the photo booth, and a "silent" compliment from the DJ, who was letting Jonah run the DJ booth! Sunday - from the lady who was sitting beside him at church, someone whom I did not know. 
I've got admit, my mama heart has had a little bit of worry about sending him off to a week of Scout Camp for the first time. (I'll also admit that this worry really took me by surprise, as I've had such a great time with him lately and have seen so much growth in him!) Yes, I'm a little worried he might be homesick. I'm more worried that he's hot (it is hotter then normal and SO humid here right now) and hopeful that he's staying hydrated and hasn't lost his towel this year! I'm pretty certain he only took one shower at Cub Scout camp one year, as he came home without his towel! Ew! But those compliments said to me, "You're doing a good job, mama. He's going to be just fine!" 
So thankful for small gestures and encouragement that mean so much!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

An Instagram friend posted this question today, and I wanted to save my reply by sharing it here. 

Is it bad that I'm looking forward to sending my boy child off to scout camp? Not excited that he will be gone! ���� but for the great time he's going to have! He always comes back a little "older" - and that's just so cool to see. I've had a couple of good conversations with him this week that give me a peek into the young man he's becoming, and it's been wonderful. So exciting to see my kiddos grow into the next stage!

I've seen a bigger boy this week than the one I saw just a few days ago. I've asked him some bigger questions, talked about some deeper topics, and told him I'm ready to hand over some of the choices to him a little at a time. I can see he's growing up, and it's time to let him practice bigger and bigger decisions  before the really big ones come up! I've told him how I'm trying to be a better, more patient and understanding mom.  Car rides with my boy this week have been so, so special. I've let him ride in the front seat (yes - he's growing up!) and without a sister to pick on in the backseat, I've had his attention and he's had mine. Love, love that one-on-one time!

So, what are you looking forward to this weekend? Doesn't have to be "deep" - lets just chat!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Gallery Wall project - part 1

Miss M has always (always!) loved art. Her love of art is a big reason we chose to enroll her (three years ago) in our local charter school that integrates the arts into other areas of study. She has also participated in an art camps and classes in the past, and will do an art and writing camp this summer. Mister J has been at our charter school for two school years now, and tried out an animation class last summer. They have both created some lovely (and to us, pretty impressive) artwork at school, and one of the projects we are tackling this summer is to get some of their artwork framed and hang it up to create a gallery area in our home. 
We purchased a lot of frames yesterday - size and quantity based on my quick measurements of a few pieces. I didn't have 100% success sizing things, and I need to go back for some additional mounting paper and hanging hardware, but I've gotten a good start. 

Carts - plural! - full of frames

Unloaded at home

Left - Miss M's artwork from an art camp; Center - J's 'splatter painting' from this past school year; Right - J's pencil drawing of a diamondback rattlesnake (done in conjuction with study of the American West)

Left - M's cherry blossoms (done in conjunction with a study of Japan); Right - "Help" by M, based on the story of Icarus

Not all of our goodies are from school - or even by the kids.  Left - print of Seattle's Pike Place Market, a gift from my brother- and sister-in-law, previously framed but now in a more substantial frame; Right - M's work from a summer camp a few years ago.
There are several more items to frame, including some larger-format photos we are picking up later today.  I can't wait to put our gallery together ans see all of these things in one place!  I'll try to post pictures when it's all complete!