Last week I assisted a teacher in a class. One of the students, she was five, was trying to copy the teachers example. She was in tears because her craft was not exactly the same as the teacher’s example.
“Mine is awful. It doesn’t look like the teachers.”
She asked, “Is this perfect teacher?”
Perfect is a four letter word. [Would you like to tweet that imperfect quote? tweet tweet]
Okay, yes I can count. I know the word perfect has 7 letters. p, e, r, f, e, c, t, spells perfect and there are 7 letters. But, really, it is a 4 letter word. One of “those” words.
Perfect : to be without fault or defect, completely correct or accurate.
The student wanted to know her craft was correct, accurate, without fault.
She thought her craft only had value if it imitated the teachers example exactly. She wanted it to be perfect.
Perfect is a four letter word. [ I said it twice to be imperfect and repetitive. tweet tweet.]
Four letter words are bad words; words that should not be spoken in polite company. Four letter words are profane.
The goal of life should never be perfection. Perfection is impossible.
If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
The little girl’s face has been floating around in my brain since last Thursday. When I wash the dishes and don’t get them all clean before I go to bed, I think, “Is this perfect?” When I work on my writing, I think, “Is this perfect?” When I clean my kitchen floors I think, “Is this perfect?”
And I am the same as the child that sat in front of her muffin papers putting glue on blue pom pom’s and beaded eyes trying to make a bird, trying to make a life as an adult. A perfect life.
Who do you ask? Who do you want to answer you? Your teacher? Your children? Your boss?
Stop saying the word perfect. Wash your mouth out with soap every time you say; perfect. Stop it.
Ban the word from the dictionary. Cut it up into little pieces. Throw perfect away and live imperfectly. Glue your blue pom poms any way you want to. Leave a few dishes in the sink and read a book.
And to the little girl crying because her craft wasn’t the same as the teachers: I pray you will grow up to create your own birds. And when you look at what you made you will say, “This is good. This is mine. This is me.”
This idea of perfect makes me not want to publish this post. Keep it hidden until it is perfect. The word that doesn’t exist.
What do you think? Is perfect a 4 letter word?
Please tell me in the comments. And, please only leave comments that are imperfect.