Story about Decent and Perfect !

How words shape us!

Here is a dinner table conversation with my 12 years old daughter that left me thinking how we need to redefine words.

I walked up to the dining table and gave my daughter a big hug. “So, what is it about me that you like mum?” She asked. My response, “many things but I love the fact that you are a decent girl.”

She was aghast! Her response, “decent, you mean I am average.”

My response ,” Well, that is not how I would look at decency. According me decent is someone with traits that can be indeed associated with nobility – politeness, kindness, consideration, tolerance and clear language – anything that is respectable when it comes to behaving.”

However, her understanding about the word decent was shaped from her sports field interaction where an average performance is acknowledged as decent.

The next question I asked her was, ” What would you rather be? Her response – “Perfect.”

This is where I really needed to intervene as a mother. I dashed to the study, picked up a book I have recently read, Daring Greatly and read the following to her

“Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at it’s core, about trying to earn approval. Most perfectionists grew up being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule following, people pleasing, appearance, sports). Somewhere along the way, they adopted this dangerous and debilitating belief system: “I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. Please. Perform. Perfect.”

Healthy striving is self-focused: How can I improve?

Perfectionism is other-focused: What will they think?

Perfectionism is a hustle.

This interaction was a perfect reminder that in this Look up what you want to know internet culture, it is my responsibility to reshape my child’s understanding about words that will go a long way in shaping who she becomes.

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