A New (And Totally Old) Perspective On Perfection
[Editor's Note: There is nothing better than simple wisdom, which is fortunately as much in evidence on the internet as sheer inanity. But what's one step above simple wisdom? The solid honesty of truth shared from a parent to a grown daughter. Read on to hear A Mountain Momma's simple and brilliant discovery, after her father planted a few seeds of his past in her head. Prepare for an a-ha! moment. (Then prepare to have to work very hard to remember it, because these are the times we live in.)—Stacy]
Are You Perfect, Momma?
I am not perfect. Nor is anyone else.
Yet we strive for, and expect, perfection of ourselves and others every day.
My father left an intriguing comment on my post last week—Don’t worry about it, Momma—which got me thinking about perfection.
I asked him about this the next time we spoke and he elaborated:
“You know, growing up on the farm there was always something going wrong. Cows knock over pails, fences fall down, nature doesn’t cooperate etc. You came to expect and accept imperfection because they were a part of every day life. But, when I moved into the city everything was different. Traffic lights, garbage pick-up, mail delivery, everything was on a schedule. If things didn’t happen when they were supposed to, the whole system would break down.
I remember the calm acceptance of adversity. A neighbour looking out at dust blowing across the prairie during a bad summer drought. Tumbleweeds chased each other down the road as she looked out and remarked, “Well, its windy enough to get my ironing done now!” The farm had a wind-driven generator that was the only source of electricity and people thought nothing of having to work around the weather. I also remember many missing the last game of the 1954 World Series because there wasn't enough wind for radio batteries.”
I have been thinking about this ever since.
How does the way we live affect our expectations?
Do we calmly accept adversity? Or, do we get angry and frustrated and depressed? Do we vainly try to tame our circumstances, seldom finding satisfaction?
Have machines and their roles in our lives given us unrealistic and unattainable expectations? Are we set up for failure, no matter what?
In North American society, we often live in nuclear family units. No grandparents next door or in the attic. No sisters, aunts, cousins, uncles.
You are all alone.
At least I was.
No one to tell me if I was doing it right or wrong. But, I did have one confidante to turn to: perfection.
If I read every book, blog, magazine, news story, and did everything they said, maybe then I would be a good mother. A perfect mother.
Everything had to be perfect. How else would I know if I was doing right?
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