Letter 17 – Perfectionism

Encouragement for new homeschoolers ~ reflecting on thoughts, attitudes, ideas and approaches I have considered as I have journeyed in my 19+ years of homeschooling …

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Dear Nadene,

Homeschooling is a journey of self-discovery and growth. It is about growing in character.    It is NOT about a systematic dispensation of information, formal lessons, tests and results with a perfect predictable outcome.   No system is perfect.  No curriculum is perfect.  No one is perfect.   So you are going to trip up over faults and failures …. and you will have to deal with your fears. 

Let go of perfection.  Perfectionism is a symptom of fear.  It is an attempt to control and be in control.  Perfectionism is said to be self-abuse!

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Perfectionism kills! 

Instead, focus on being faithful with what you have and to do your very best.   Encourage your children to be faithful and consistent.  Encourage them to be proud of their work and to take pride in their efforts.   As a parent, allow them to fail, to change their minds, to figure things out.  Nothing stifles uniqueness and creativity more than fear.  

Have realistic expectations.  Life is messy and chaotic.  Aim to maintain a simple routine and a consistent approach.  Build in “margins” around your schedule for the unexpected and spontaneous.  Perfectionism is highly overrated and completely unrealistic.

Be kind to yourself.   Have grace towards yourself and others.  Forgive yourself for failing, for making mistakes, for being human.   Learn to laugh at yourself.  Train yourself to breathe and let unmet expectations go … Don’t major on the minors.  Don’t make mountains out of molehills. 

Most of your concerns and stresses are about ideals and expectations.  Remember the motto: “People before things.”  Focus on relationships. 

Pray and ask the Lord what is important.  Ask Him to show you what is needful, helpful and useful.   Adopt an attitude of grace.  Live out hope in your thinking, speaking and loving of yourself and others.  See yourself and others through His eyes. 

Be compassionate.  Be patient … you are a work in progress …

With hindsight blessings,

Nadene

I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this topic!  Please would you share yours in the comments.

In case you missed any of my previous “Letters To Me” in this series:

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