Please allow me a braggy parent moment to show off a picture that my 5-year-old made for my desk. I have to say that she is quite the little artist; her most recent work from school was a watercolor of the Burj Khalifa. But I actually like this “I LOVE YO” so much more, and it’s not because of her intended message! It’s because of the mistake.
See, my daughter is a perfectionist, even at the age of 5. She gets very upset if she cannot do or make something exactly how she believes it should look the very first time she tries. But she’s slowly been accepting the fact that “mistakes are allowed” and can even lead to a “beautiful oops,” as shown in the brilliant children’s book by Barney Saltzberg. So the fact that she proudly placed a “flawed” picture on my desk and said, “I forgot the u but I like how it looks anyway” made me feel so proud.
Hey, I’m confident that she’ll have a solid grip on spelling by the time she leaves elementary school; there are thousands of adults out there who still struggle with perfectionism.
Are you one of them?
Well, I’m probably not a DSM-5-level perfectionist, but I certainly cringe and feel like I fell short when I have to submit work that isn’t (IMHO) just right. But now I have the perfect reminder, every day, that mistakes are okay!
Mistakes are allowed.
Less than perfect is often just fine.