My littlest minion sat next to me at the teacher’s table. It was Parent/Teacher Conference night and the teacher had said that fourth grade was old enough to be involved in the conferences. Earlier in the week she’d had my sweet girl fill out an evaluation of herself to be shared with mom and the teacher that night. The first question asked if there was anything she wasn’t trying hard enough on. She listed two things—division and cursive—and her teacher frowned. “Why do you think you aren’t doing your best in these areas?” She replied because she couldn’t do them yet.
I knew that these are things she’s in the process of learning, not things she should have mastered yet. But before I could speak up, her teacher did. She smiled and explained exactly that. She asked, “Are you working on these things? And are you trying your best?” A little head nodded. “Then that’s all we ask.”
The teacher explained she used to be a perfectionist. She understands when kids think that struggling reveals something is wrong when in fact it reveals that they are doing the hard work of learning. I loved that she shared that.
It got me thinking: am I doing my best to give my kids tools to battle perfectionism? Perfection is an impossibly high standard and some kids are naturally inclined to set that bar of excellence too high.