I Am Not Perfect And Neither Is My Kid

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by Heather Bock

Today was the first day of my homeschool community, Classical Conversations. I posted the obligatory “First Day of School” pictures on Facebook, and my kids looked cute and sweet. That didn’t last long for my youngest. I remember thinking Little E was bad when she was in my class that first year (she was younger than JP is now). I had no idea. I tutor JP now in my little class of eight 3-5 year olds, and that kid wiggled, whined, complained, screamed, and kicked through much of the three hours we were there. He was supposed to sit or stand or jump or do hand motions (like the rest of the children) on his specially made felt rectangle with his name painted on it for the twenty or thirty minutes we were learning there. He did anything but that–ignored it, threw it, wadded it up. He refused to participate in anything but presentations. No, I take that back. He did want to participate in the review game, but once he knocked over all the other children’s game pieces and made them scream, I had to make him sit out of that, which, of course, made him scream.

It’s easier to see now that I’m calm that although he did behave abominably, he truly was hungry (apparently, he didn’t eat enough breakfast and snacktime was late), he was definitely not used to that much sitting or standing in a directed place (he does a lot of free play in our house), and he was truly tired by the end (he fell asleep soon after he arrived home). I also discovered today that my son is a bit of a perfectionist–getting frustrated when pushed a little beyond comfort zone.

The other mothers were kind to me; they gave me grace and sympathetic words, and I am very thankful for that. All I could see at the time, though, was that I had failed as a mom (and tutor) in front of six watching mothers. Now that I think about it, I felt a lot like JP did–a perfectionist not wanting to fail.

Wait a second; wasn’t it just this Sunday when God taught me about this? Hasn’t He taught me many times before? Recently, I started rereading Teaching from Rest, a book I just reviewed here. Some of it indirectly deals with the struggle for perfection some homeschooling mothers like me desire in the education of our children. God brought the message of the book to my mind in church on Sunday, and I surrendered that desire for perfection in my schooling as I sang a song I love, “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin. I was struck by the fact that He is perfect in all His ways, so I don’t have to be. I just have to be faithful, as Teaching from Rest explains. I can rest in the fact that He’s my good Father, and my identity is that I’m loved by Him no matter how imperfect I am.

However, I’m a slow learner (which is why He’s been working on this perfection issue with me for a long time). It’s one thing to surrender perfection in my home where nobody but my own family and God sees. It’s even easy for me to surrender an appearance of perfection in this blog. Talking about it is one thing; showing my imperfections to new acquaintances is quite another. I want my kids to show up for community time cute, hair groomed beautifully, faces wreathed with smiles, and attitudes filled with joy. So God gave me that object lesson today. It hit me hard. And the fact that it hit me hard hit me hard because I know I shouldn’t be upset by it.

But it drives me back to Sunday’s lesson. He is perfect. I am not, and neither are my kids. A few sweet friends gave me some verses, too, that I needed today. Maybe they will encourage you, too:

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (I Pet. 5:6-7).

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (II Cor. 12:9).

and finally, just a few minutes ago:

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12-14).

I am not perfect, but I will be faithful to press on toward what God has for me.

How about you?

Do you struggle with this perfectionism issue? What has God taught you about this?

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13 thoughts on “I Am Not Perfect And Neither Is My Kid

  1. The struggle is real! I have a daughter that behaved in an ill manner for a solid year when she was 2, turning 3. I literally cried almost every day because of her extreme behavior and mood swings. Unfortunately, I often did not respond in a Christ-centered way to her multiple daily erratic tantrums. Thankfully, God in His mercy heard my cries for help and she did eventually grow out of her “terrible 2’s”, although not for a few years. I can humbly report that God uses her strong will in mighty ways as an adult to honor and bring Him glory. She loves missions and has shared Him with many different races of people already, at the age of 20. Keep the faith and just remember to “bring your basket”, not perfection.

    I thank God for our wonderful CC community, too!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Shannon! I’m so glad to hear from someone who has sent out her strong-willed child. I pray God will use my kids this way, too. I will keep the faith! I’m so glad for the encouragement of you and others in our community!

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  2. Heather so glad you were able to see the way your good father is teaching you. He loves you and does not want the burden of perfection on you. He wants you to grow in Him, which you do so often. Remembering that our children will not behave perfect is such a hard lesson. Praying for this year of CC for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This resonates with me. I think it’s easy to slip into parenting from the point of view that our children’s behavior reflects on us. But our kids aren’t perfect any more than we are, and it’s unfair to expect them to live up to a standard we can’t achieve. I still struggle with that sometimes, but I’m learning to give grace and freedom.

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  4. Heather, Yes, I struggle with perfectionism. It has been a difficult lesson, but God is faithful. I think of Galatians 6:9 when it comes to raising my son, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” My son has Aspergers and ADHD he bolted out of school, pulled hair, and bit other kids. He was trying to communicate and did not use his words. Now that I know this, I have been helping him use his words. He is 14 and has a vast vocabulary. He knows words that I only learned recently. I love what Leigh Powers wrote. Thank you Leigh.
    Heather, You are a good mom. Let’s all pray for one another.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Heather, I wish I could say that I don’t relate to this post, but I do. It’s a struggle every day NOT to compare myself to others. To take my perfectionism to Jesus. To rest in the fact that He is perfect and that’s good enough for me. I too, love the song, Good, Good Father. I sing it daily to help center myself. Thanks for your candor. I’m praying it leads someone to the arms of their good Father 🙂

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