I am 41 years old and I am finally learning that I am not perfect. Okay, I don’t think I am perfect, but the pursuit of perfection has taken its toll. They say you can tell a lot about the lifecycle of a tree based on the rings after it is cut down. What do you think about the life of the tree in my feature photo?
We found this fallen tree on the edge of a geyser basin in Yellowstone National Park. For most, this looks like a fallen tree due to the harsh conditions of its surrounding environment, but I see a perfect reflection of the life I have and the perfection I need to let go of.
Are we supposed to pursue perfection or…what else is there?
Right before our trip to the national park, I had an incident with my second oldest Evan. He made choices that I found irritating and down right offensive. Side note, nothing really bad happened, as you will see I overreacted. On my journey of self-improvement, I ask myself why do I get so irritated with our children? Well, this morning, it was like I was watching a movie. I couldn’t believe the words out of my mouth and my wife’s!
“If he turns out to be an ass-hole, then it is my fault. I have to make sure he learns from his choices or else I fail as a parent,” I remark to my fully attentive wife.
“Well, I am sorely disappointed as if you think that is what parenting is, then we are on two different pages,” she wisely retorted.
What I realized, hopefully not too late to the game, is that my children are human beings. No matter how hard I try, they are going to make their own choices, so is there a difference between perfection and good parenting?
On the never-ending cycle of learning
After that conversation and hours of driving with my thoughts to myself, I came to the following realization: I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. The last part of that sentence is incredibly hard to write. I want to be perfect. I want to raise perfect children. But most importantly, I want to own the responsibility of their poor choices. Whoa! Wait a minute. I don’t think I like that last one.
But isn’t that what demanding perfection of oneself means? Doesn’t it mean that you are willing to accept the responsibility of failure to your imperfection? And that sir, is the kicker. I want to be perfect and I want to make sure that my kids are good people, but I am not responsible for the choices of other human beings. However, I am responsible for my choices, for my imperfections, and for the legacy I leave. Do you try too hard to be perfect? Let me know and we can walk through this together.
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