It was 8:15pm on a Thursday evening, my daughter Lucy and I were preparing and packing to leave at 5:30am the next morning for a music festival out of town. Lucy had auditioned and was selected to play her oboe for a statewide honor band. As we were packing, she came upstairs and said, “Mom, we have a problem…I forgot my oboe at school!” Well my friends, what were we gonna do? She couldn’t show up to the festival without her oboe! I made some calls and got in touch with her director and fifteen minutes later we met her band director at the school and retrieved her oboe! Crises averted!! However, she beat herself up over and over. “I am so embarrassed!” “I can’t believe I did that!” I kept saying things like, “It happens to us all!” “None of us are perfect!” However, nothing I said changed how she was feeling…she was so upset with herself!
That night, long after she had gone to bed, I continued to reflect on this event, along with a few more other events. Earlier in that same day I was at my seven-year-old son’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and one of the comments made was: “He gets so frustrated with himself if he can’t master a task right away!” In conferences a couple weeks prior my ten-year-old’s teacher shared that he hates making any sort of a mistake! She said he has a fear to do something wrong. I know my twelve-year-old desires perfection, especially in art and writing-one small mistake and the paper is crumbled and thrown in the garbage.
I couldn’t help but ask God: “What did I do wrong Lord?” “Why do my kids feel they have to be perfect?” “Do I place unrealistic expectations upon them?” I clearly heard back in my prayer, “They mimic what they see!” Hmpf! I didn’t like that answer! Immediately a scene from the day before entered my head! I was scheduled to take supper to a family who had just had a baby and it totally slopped my mind. I was so embarrassed! I was so angry at myself! It was my fault and I expected better from myself. Ugh!!! My children were reflecting their mother’s behavior. Even though they are well aware that there is room for mistakes in our home an that mom and dad will not get upset because of a misstate…they see a mom (and dad) who sets unrealistic expectations of perfection for myself. They may feel that if mom (and dad) have to be perfect than they should be too!
There is no getting out of this!!! No amount of talking or explaining myself will change that, yes, I expect perfection from me. I must make REAL, TANGIBLE changes in my behavior. I reflected on myself and my actions. I recalled that each time I go to confession I confess a lack of patience and love for myself. I MUST CHANGE!!! I must remember each and every day that Christ made the greatest sacrifice for me, and you! He does not expect perfection from me. Again, why do I expect more from myself than God does? Yes, God desires me to do good and choose Him first, but if I fail…He is merciful! This is what I want for my kids to truly know and believe! If I make a mistake, learn from it, seek mercy from God and self, and become a better person!
I will never be perfect! I will forget my oboe (so to say). From this day forward, it will be how I handle those matters. May I (and my kids) learn to be merciful to myself as my heavenly Father already is!