I dislike perfect people. Always have.
No matter how hard I myself may try to be smart, steady, kind, thoughtful, calm, collected, spiritual, loving, organized, and always right, I resent it when I see too many of these qualities in another individual. Or maybe it is my perception that they see these qualities in themselves that I resent. If they are blithely unaware of their perfection, I forgive them and admire them from afar.
But I find people who are disorganized, shy, scatterbrained, struggling spiritually, blunt, embarrassed, or just plain wrong ever so much more interesting and lovable.
So what does this have to do with parenting and friendship?
Just that it’s pretty silly for us to strive for perfection when we recognize that we love our friends, not in spite of their imperfections, but because of them. And children are no different than any other body.
Strive for imperfection. Do it for your kids.
I’m joking, of course. As long as you’re human, and not actually an angel or an alien, you won’t need to try. You’re probably already more imperfect than you realize or care to admit.
But here’s the value of that: your children are imperfect, too. What you can do for them is teach them how to handle imperfection with grace.
Teach them to be humble, to laugh at themselves, to be honest about their mess-ups and odd personality quirks. Teach them to say, “I’m sorry.” Teach them above all not to regard themselves as better or more righteous than another individual.
These things can only be taught by example.
Just remember, you don’t like perfect people. Your children don’t either.
Corny for someone who doesn’t have children to write about how to make friends with your children? I’m not a parent, but I have parents, and I’m writing a few things I’ve learned by watching mine. Every family will do things differently, and much more goes into a parent/child relationship than I can write in three short blog posts, but I’ve picked out three principles I think are important in creating an atmosphere where friendship can thrive. These principles work not only with children, but in the building of any friendship, with anyone.
I wrote about freedom in a previous blog post; next Monday, I’ll post about cheerfulness.