My almost-ten-year-old daughter got a little too much of her mother in her. What is it with this perfectionist gene? You’d think one generation would be far plenty for it to run its course and leave us alone. Alas, it has not.
My gorgeous, lovely, loving, wonderful daughter got this one in spades. I first knew this the year she took violin lessons and adamantly REFUSED to play for anyone she knew. When Grandma came over, we begged and pleaded and bribed… to no avail. She simply would not play a note lest she not sound just perfect and reveal to all the world that she was anything less than perfect.
We battle this monster in school. She has all-A’s for now. And truth be told, I’m not looking forward to that streak coming to an end. (I still haven’t recovered from MY OWN three-week cry-fest when I got my first B in 5th grade. Don’t laugh. Trust me, it makes it worse!)
With the beginning of volleyball, we are wading once again into the deep waters of perfection psychosis, and I have to be honest with you–I would have thought that since I’d been through this one, it would be easy to diagnose and treat in my own child. Sadly, I was mistaken. The diagnosis has been easy, but wow is this thing hard to heal.
Tonight on the way to volleyball, my beautiful, kind, wonderful little girl spent most of the trip in tears. “Why does everyone think I have to be perfect?” “They don’t.” “Yes, they do. If I do one little thing wrong, they yell at me.”
Now, really. How do you argue with that? Because too often we do sound like we’re yelling. Our corrections sound to a delicate perfectionist like we don’t or won’t love them if they aren’t perfect. It’s such a vile, rotten trap.
On the way home later, we were hashing out the whole perfection thing again because this time it was the coach who yelled, “just because I missed one serve! I got all the others.”
I finally made this simple observation. “You’re not perfect. You’re priceless.”
That stopped her. “What does that mean?”
“It means you are not perfect. You have chips. You have flaws. You make mistakes. But God and Mama still believe you are priceless, and no matter what, that will never change.”
Strangely she stopped arguing and crying at that point, and inside, so did I.
Maybe I’m not perfect, but God says I am priceless, and who am I to argue?