Perfection

Perfection is a reoccurring theme that comes up, in homeschooling, in relationships, in life.

Many of the struggles of humanity stem from our desire to have and do things perfectly, and our desire for others to do the same.

And to make things more complicated, we each have individual ideas of what perfection is, on top of the demands of society, school and work.

At first, I thought it was good advice to lower expectations and to allow things not to be perfect. Well, I still do. But that’s hard to practice in everyday life.

So I was thinking, that instead, maybe we can change what our definition of perfection is? What if we change our definition of perfect to include making mistakes? What if we include change, unexpected behavior and the stuff we generally don’t like in our definition of perfection as well? Aren’t these things absolutely necessary in order to grow and become a more mature, experienced person?
With this new meaning of perfection, that includes all the things in the world that happen whether we like it or not, what does trying to be perfect look like?

In homeschooling, and education in general, one can say there is no “perfect”, if you use the old definition of the term. But if you use our new and improved definition, everything about the education we give our children is perfect. We make mistakes, we go down the wrong roads, we make bad choices, but we also make good ones too. We need it all. In order to learn, to grow and to mature, we need all the experiences of life, not just the ones that we like, or that we would consider to be perfect.

To me, life, in all its pain and joy, is perfect how it is.

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4 Responses to “Perfection”

  1. anna Says:

    Ahhh. Thank you for your wisdom… It feels like exactly what I needed to hear today!

  2. Mother Crone's Homeschool Says:

    I read a quote a while ago that discusses this idea. Stop trying to attain an impossible goal of being perfect in every way. Be the best “imperfect you” possible, excelling in your strengths and always improving your weaknesses.
    This concept is pure genius , and applies well to homeschooling as well.

  3. Dana Says:

    I like the old meaning of perfection, before it shifted. The Greek means “finished” and that is actually closer to what it meant in English even at the time of our earliest settlements here.

    We strive for perfection…completion…in everything. We try not to leave things “undone” but that doesn’t mean there won’t be flaws. Even the most amazing works of art have flaws…it is part of the human condition. But they didn’t give it up because they couldn’t completely bring about their vision of flawlessness. If they had, it never would have been perfected, ie., finished.

  4. Benedict Says:

    I too, enjoyed this post. My daughter is an absolute perfectionist, which is causing a LOT of trouble, particularly when we’re doing art and math. We finally convinced her (and, to a lesser extent, each other) that her bird does not have to look exactly like the one in the magazine!

    One thing that I’m trying to stress to her, to her teacher-mom, and myself as teacher-principal-dad, is the importance of doing the GOOD, as opposed to the perfect, the pursuit of which, as Plato does not tire of reminding us, is always doomed to fail. Valuable lesson, methinks, for a budding artist as well as a not-so-budding mathematician…


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