Perfectionism through the eyes of an 8 year old

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When we could meet up, while I was visiting a friend and he was making a toy model with his son. My friend works away a lot and you might conjure up a beautiful image of a father and son making a model and spending quality time together.

In reality, I watched as the joy crumbled in front of my eyes.

The small boy started out very content to try things out, see if they fit and keep going until he got it right.

My friend on the other hand was behaving impatiently. He already knew what bit went where and could easily have this project finished in record time. After all, he had 30+ years of modelling experience over his 8 year old apprentice.

I witnessed the use of shame and embarrassment to bolster an adult ego.

And I felt the hurt in the small boy who just wanted to learn to build models with his parent.

My friend had to do it right the first time. There was no room for trial and error. He knew best. He wanted to show.

All the boy wanted to do was play and be seen. There was plenty of room for testing. He knew he didn’t know and tried it anyway. He wanted to learn.

This conflicting tension of “Being right” V’s “Trying to get it right” created a missed opportunity for growth, on both parts.

Given the choice, I’d pick childlike perfectionism – Everyday!

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