Perfectly Imperfect

Today for “Mommy School” we made gingerbread men out of paper. He decorated it all by himself. Can you tell? In case you’re wondering, the orange square is the face, the red paper is the smile, and the green scraps are the buttons. If you look really close, you might be able to see the sideways squiggly lines that are supposed to be icing. It’s certainly not conventional, but I was interested to see what he could create with minimal help from me.

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Often when I am doing art projects with my boys, I have to remind myself not to jump in and do it for them or “fix” their creations. I have a serious case of perfectionism, and it’s been made worse by Pinterest with its perfectly photographed, perfectly made crafts with perfectly clean homes as the backdrop. But I’m learning that sometimes it’s better to NOT strive for perfection. Or, maybe I just need to redefine “perfect”. Especially when it comes to crafting with my kiddos.

Maybe this is a completely obvious concept to other people, but for me and my perfectionist self it takes a conscious effort to NOT straighten, smooth, or otherwise “improve” Little Man’s art. And it may seem like such a small thing, but I think it matters.

We often think of “perfect” as being without fault, but when I looked it up, the first definition was a little different:

having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

Thinking about Little Man’s art, I asked myself, “What is the most desirable element?” The answer: that it be his.

I want my kids to feel empowered. I want them to feel capable. I want them to feel like their art can be beautiful without being perfect. I want them to love the process of creation without fear of someone more experienced criticizing their work. There will be a time for constructive criticism later, but a three-year-old’s gingerbread man is not the time.

So, create whatever you will, Little Man. I love to see your imagination at work.

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