How many of you out there want your children to feel that they need to be perfect? That they should be racked with guilt when they make a mistake? That they should feel like a complete loser when they are human?
Doesn’t that sound crazy?
Of course we want our kids to do their best. But most of us know that having perfection as your personal goal is going to result in a lot of heartache.
If you believe the old saying that “actions speak louder than words”, what do our actions say to our kids?
This struck me this week as I talked with an amazing young mom. She’s like wonder woman in my mind. She’s a single mom who has gone back to school to try to create a better life for herself and her children. I don’t know how she juggles everything that she does. I’m not sure if I were in her shoes if I’d be as successful as she is, and she always does it with a smile on her face.
Well, maybe not always. She shared with me that she had a momentary lapse with her kids this week, and she was feeling awful about it. She says she immediately apologized to them, but she was obviously still feeling guilt about it.
I asked her to consider what her actions were teaching her kids. She made a mistake, she took responsibility for it, she apologized, and she’s trying to prevent a repeat of her mistake. Isn’t that what we say we want our kids to do when they screw up?
But she’s beating herself up. She’s feeling terrible. She’s putting herself down. I could see her usual motivation and energy being sapped as she talked about it. I worried that she was going to throw in the towel and give up on achieving her educational goals because she was feeling like a failure.
Is that what you want for your kids when they make a mistake?
What do you model for them when you aren’t perfect?