Friday, December 17, 2010

Perfection - you'll never reach it.

In past posts, I wrote about whether or not we will shelter Violet from the all the truths of the world, at least while she is still young. Today, something made me think of a truth I learned maybe too late in life. Growing up, I never had an adult that I thought of as a role model; a person that I wanted to emulate. I wasn’t looking for one, either, or at least I didn’t know I was until I found one in college. It was one of my professors, and I placed him on a dangerously tall pedestal. I would watch this person teach and tell stories of his life, and I would think, “That’s what I want to do. That’s how I want to live.” (Yes, it was maybe somewhat creepy.) I can remember to this day how disappointed I was when I found out that he wasn’t perfect. It was a hard slap to the face, and I was furious at him for disappointing me, for fooling me into believing he was something more than fallible. The depths of my unfairness knew no bounds. Maybe if I’d ever followed sports, I would’ve found out earlier that even the most talented, intelligent, and charismatic people have a laundry list of faults, just like the rest of us. Some are better at hiding it than others, shoving it deep under layers of confidence and personality, and the star struck gaze of the admirer sees what it needs to. Ultimately, the list always finds its way to the top. It took me more time than I want to admit, but I eventually realized that the perfect role model is a fiction, right up there with the honest politician. What I admired about my professor was still there despite what I saw as his faults, and the realization helped me take a more honest look at my own shortcomings, too. So what do we do with Violet? Let her discover for herself sometime down the line that no one is perfect (even daddy), or do we explain it to her a little earlier on?

27 days old


  1. As a naturalist, you know that the young of the wild are not shielded from the realities of their world. Some are left to fend for themselves from day one while others are taught potential dangers by their parents. None, so far as I know, are ever entirely kept from the truth of their existence and learn early on in order to survive. It's a delicate balance between protecting our kids from the worst of humanity and what they need to know to be prepared to face the hard realities of their lives ahead. Perhaps looking to Nature will help you with the answer to this question.

  2. One of my most powerful memories is of my dad apologizing to me for losing his temper. My kids sure know I am not perfect. There was no explaining of this phenomena...just admitting and accepting. Hopefully this approach will turn out well! Only time will tell...

  3. MJ - Thanks for putting it into that perspective. I imagine it will have to be a "figure it out as we go" sort of thing. I like the black bear method - stay holed up in the winter den together for awhile, just snuggling. Then, spend a longer time showing them what to do and what not to do, and then kick 'em out!

    Amy BG - I'm planing on doing my fair share of apologizing and letting Violet know I'm not perfect, but I'm also not expecting to be her role model.