Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lesson from Max: perfection is in the eye of the beholder

Max has a perfectionist streak. He notices when stuff is out of place in the house or there are crumbs on the dining room floor. This also applies when he does his homework on the SnapType app, which enables you to upload a photo of a worksheet and then type in answers or draw circles around text.

He likes his homework done just so. If the text he's typed isn't totally lining up with the ruled line on the worksheet page, he'll move the text box so it is. The other day, he had to choose which of two words should come first alphabetically. He'd draw a circle around the word, then he wouldn't be satisfied with the shape so he'd erase it and do it again. Once, he even did it a third time.

I sat on the couch, watching Max carefully make circles. It takes a lot of focus and effort for him to isolate one finger and manipulate it on the screen. When he was done, there was a page full of squiggly circles. 

I pondered it. To me, they were squiggly. To Max, they were great. He didn't care that they weren't your usual perfect circle—they were the best he could do. And to him, that was perfect enough.

There it was, another life lesson from my children. I mean, how much more chill and enjoyable would life be if we took satisfaction in our personal best‚ and didn't regularly aspire to standards of perfection?

True, this doesn't apply to your job because whatever you hand in or present had better be your boss's idea of perfect, not just yours. But it has resonance for parenting and other parts of life where we put pressure on ourselves to live up to societal expectations—our appearance, our home's appearance, our career goals.

Thanks for the perspective, Max. Keep up the excellent squiggly work.


  1. This is so awesome! I love seeing all of Max's victories, and it's so fascinating to me to see the kids of things he's working on at his age level since I obviously have no idea what high school will look like for my three year old.


    1. Ah, but there's no telling what high school will look like for her, Paige—all our kids are on their own timelines! For Max, age-level doesn't apply, the school goes by his ability level.


Thanks for sharing!

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