If you ask everyone on their deathbeds about their regrets, you will hear the predictable whining:
I wish I hadn't worked so much and spent time with my family.
I wish I hadn't put my education ahead of my life experiences.
I wish I had put all my loved ones ahead of money, ambition, etc.
I wish I had listened to my loved ones.
The truth is, the ones who die with family and loved ones around their deathbeds are the ones who don't regret anything, for they obviously didn't put work, education, ambition, etc., ahead of their loved ones. And they listened when loved ones advised them on mid-course corrections.
Their loved ones had been with them the whole time...
...all the way to the very end. That's a life without regrets.
Do you want to count your money on your deathbed? Your sexual conquests? Your Rolexes? All those whom you bested? No, the only thing you want to count are the ones who wanted to be with you at the very end.
We should teach our children to live lives that make life worth living. That means incorporating the human factor into every relationship, every decision, and every journey. It means goodness doesn't have to profit us tangibly because goodness is its own reward.
Dying peacefully, alone, is not peaceful dying. Dying mattering to the ones you love is a great way to go. We should teach our children that the end justifies the means.
A Pontificating On The Importance Of Pursuing Perfection (Or For That Matter Anything at all.)
The short answer is "it depends." But, that answer being a disappointingly ineffectual bromide, and, me being in immediate need of a worthy question to snap myself out of my current bout of tyrannically overbearing writer's block, I shall attempt to answer more thoroughly. (I've a naive sort of hopeful expectancy that the result of my efforts may yet blossom into a halfway respectable formulation, or at the very least readable response, but I can make no promises to that effect. Consider yourself warned of potentially incoherent ramblings ahead!)
Many years ago, before embarking on the daring enterprise of attempting procreation, I thought a good deal about moral predicaments such as these. I was already aware (being as I'd been one of them myself for pretty much my entire life) that human beings develop a pesky habit of being wildly individualistic, and the littler ones especially so. Thus it stands to reason that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to the successful bringing up of the young ones among us, doesn't it? ...To my not-very-great astonishment, armed as I was with this forethought and others like it, I did indeed manage to find myself woefully unprepared for the actuality of being a parent. It turns out that parenting doesn't stand to reason so much as it gets knocked over and pummeled by a plethora of wholly inadequate realizations.
It was a strangely harrowing observation to me before all that, at my prior-to-procreating stage of development I mean, and worth noting, that my favorite people on the planet had all been through hell in one form or another, and had had to strive to overcome it. Some, by the grace of God or the merciful curse of cosmic mutation, had been subjected to this hell primarily by the inclination of their own natures; through enduring the turmoil of their own obsessive conscientiousness. Others had been belt-whipped into shape, quashed or confined by harsh environments, accosted by cruel teachers and/or otherwise sadistic playmates and generally conditioned by the harshness of existing in every imaginable way. I don't claim to say that those people have had the correct upbringing, (In fact I don't believe there to be any such thing as a "correct" upbringing. It's one of those unattainable goals that I'll mention briefly at the end) I am merely parading a smidgen of anecdotal evidence in the explanation of one of my preliminary and most inadequate of realizations: That there does appear to be a certain amount of necessary suffering involved in the formation of a good character. By "good" I do not mean merely lovable, (for any scummy bint or feckless scoundrel can be lovable so long as the person doing the loving is deranged enough) I also mean functional, beneficial, virtuous, and worthy of happiness.
One of the more potent realizations I've had to come to terms with is the fact that if left to the devises of my own instinct I'd simply have ruined my children; swaddle my precious darlings with so much affectionate comforting that I'd stifle any emerging backbone or functionality right out of em I would. The pathetic fact is that I love my children so much I can't stand to see them suffer ...No, that's putting it in too self-complimentary a light. The flip side of the maternal love coin is of course that I really really need to be needed. Deep down there's a big part of me who doesn't want them to ever grow up. Partly because I enjoyed my own childhood far too much and want to relive it vicariously, and partly because I'm imbued with an overarching empathy for innocents of all kinds and an urge to protect and care for them which I can only attribute to a mad-elephant level of maternal impulsiveness.
The problem is, contrary to my baser emotions, and to current trends of popular belief, innocents do in fact need to grow up eventually. People who have never suffered themselves become swiftly and irreparably insufferable to others.
From what I can gather, there's been a massive societal shift during the past century or so. The trend has been moving away from striving for actionable betterment and towards coddling infantile pipe-dreams. As a somewhat distasteful example of what has become so recently and radically fashionable for a person of modern sensibilities to balk at; corporal punishment directed at children from their surrounding adults used to be commonplace to the verge of universality. In modern times we're so collectively, effeminately averse to adversity that we rush to call this kind of overly strict parenting "abuse" and deem every recipient of said "abuse" an "innocent victim" ... Nowadays, children are no longer reckoned capable of handling criticism, let alone a modicum of old-fashioned discipline.
As near as I can tell when parents begin to check out of actively trying to improve their offspring forcibly and questionably decide to leave them more-or-less to raise themselves ( exampled during the free-spirited Lord-of-the-Flies parental approach of the 70's and early 80's, according to what I've been told) Whenever that happens, children naturally compensate by bullying and teasing each other. Now even bullying has been demonized out of the equation, leaving character development chiefly to one's natural impetus or the accidental introduction to crucial virtues and vices through the unparalleled wonder of stories. As soon as we allow those stories themselves (the last vestige of character-building material still miraculously available to our guidance-deficient and experientially famished youths) to be censored, altered and/or cancelled, that is when parents and teachers have become worse than useless: no longer allowed the natural symbiosis of previous generations, we have become nothing but parasites to our offspring. All our goodliest nurturing instincts have backfired; we are feeding our milksops not milk but feedback loops of impuissant daydreams, rickety affirmations of aggrandized sensitivity, and sickly dependency on the languorous caring capacity of other infantile enablers such as ourselves. Of course I'm not saying that we should all revert to the dark ages and start flogging our children willy nilly, but what I am suggesting is that there has got to be a middle ground of decency without despondency; some kind of mythical balancing act which keeps integrity, capability, and the ultimate goal of "growing up" intact without sacrificing our indispensable gentility in the process?
It seems abundantly clear to me now, for I am guilty of being tugged along by those empathetic heartstrings myself and have seen firsthand the resulting bratty eye-twinklings and the detrimental cycle of co-dependence it fosters, that it is not good for this kind of "pseudo-innocence" or in more vernacular terminology "victimhood" to be preserved at the expense of a person's natural development. If the goal is to create functional, free-thinking, willful, enthusiastic, successful and caring individuals, then there is almost nothing worse you can subject a child to than the unconditional cossetting of an overly empathetic role-model instilling the narcissistic conviction that one's "best" is always good enough.
I'll leave you with perhaps my most reliably optimistic (though still heinously inadequate) realization: Children are attention seekers. Human nature prefers abhorrence rather than neglect; hatred rather than indifference; defiance rather than obedience. Grown-ups are not immune to this integral facet of being human. We all retain an indomitable innocence at our core; a troublesome joy in existing and being interacted-with which can not be replaced by conforming to expectations. No matter how safely cushioned, carefully secluded and cautiously caged we are, we'll find a way to clamber over our baby-gates into the inevitable danger of the unknown eventually. The objective of our escape hardly matters so much as the simple act of escaping. We may believe that we are seeking something concretely virtuous, but in the end all our "I want I want"s boil down to the intangible (yet still scalding) ether of abstract ideals: attention, freedom, adventure, love, knowledge, justice, truth... in a way perhaps we were always doomed to pursue and proliferate all of those silly notions at once, raining down our mistakes upon the next generation who in turn thirstily strive to fill themselves up and evaporate themselves out in never-ending cycles of meaningful suffering?
For what can rightly be considered perfection, if it is not ultimately "the unattainable"?
Assorted Thoughts Towards Our Perfection
Too much pressure, and the cycle of self-realization can become oblong; like in distorted vision, where the eyeball is incorrectly refracting as an Oval, instead of a sphere. It is suggested that Perfectionism is a character trait that runs in families (as a cross generational thing, inherent rather than taught), but undoubtedly reinforced on sight (and accordingly, on repetition!). It is associated with higher- level-thought, paired with lower-level self-esteem.
I am struck by the title "Promethazine in a Baby Bottle," as the umbrella set over the question, "do we teach our children to pursue perfection, or just do their best?"
Promethazine as I understand is a sedative... the intent presumably to placate the babe into a soporific state, in which anything goes-- an attitude of "whatever" so popular among the, dare-I-say, Non-perfecting!?!
Lastly, since when is doing-your-best a goal post? It isn't. A person doesn't know where to aim at such a subjective future apparition of self worth. A few well defined objective metrics are essential to guide in taking concrete strides towards competition of any goal. By all means, these should be incremental if a person is to advance on sure footing. Indeed, I recommend baby steps.
The core definition of Perfection is "to make complete;" and Life, in its end, will take care of each of us in this respect.
Accepting suggestions for a title
Perfection doesn't exist, not even in the realms of fantasy. Utopias are doomed to fail due to the inflexibility of hubris. The pursuit of perfection, even when laid on the shoulder of entire systems yields far too much pressure- how could we expect such a task from a small, undeveloped mind?
There is a middle ground between perfection and complacency. Teach children to look up things they don't know but don't chide them for not knowing. Learning takes time, patience and repetition must be encouraged and exercised. Doing your best is to move toward improvement while recognizing weak points- but not viewing them as crippling flaws that render them incapable or unworthy. Overcome what you can, and you may spend your entire life building upon certain abilities or concepts, and that's okay provided it doesn't steal away happiness.
A perfect smile isn't necessary in order to light up a room. A perfect figure isn't necessary to be in good health. You don't need the highest IQ or testing scores to demonstrate intelligence and capability. You don't need to change the world- making changes in your home and community is enough. And for some, the blind pursuit of perfection may work against them and render a person deeply inept.
Do No Harm
It cannot be taught.
What can be taught
you are not enough
you are a disappointment
you don't live up to the standards
as my child
within socialite norms
as a human with a right to be here
those things are taught
made inherently clear instilled to death
by both parents and so-called educators
damning children generation over generation
who did not ask for you to enjoy sex
that particular night
to be bashed and battered for a lifetime
because you are despondent
about how imperfectly
your life turned out
as if perfection
is all but a pursuit
doomed within its very definition of failing.
Those who put themselves in a position
to presume to teach those inherently closest to perfection
should first be sworn as doctors are to simply do no harm.
I know you wanted the
But why was I
never quite what you wanted?
You have more in you
Just once I wanted
That was perfect,
said directly to me.
Nothing hurt me worse
than hearing from others
you were of me.
I was never quite enough
Always a smidgen off
of praise from you
Grades in school
The academic awards
top of the class
my average wasn't
four point oh
First place in music
praise from the adjudicator
It wasn't as good as it was
and still, even with you long gone
your voice haunts me
you could have done better
Striving for perfection
the ultimate impossibility
the target moves
like a carrot on a stick
I was lacking
I will never know what
Be the best you can be
Perfection is what the beholder considers it to be. What one considers perfection, another considers imperfection.
As humans we cannot be perfect in any way because we are flawed.
Therefore, be frank with your children from an early age, let them understand that we all make mistakes and that is part of learning. Show them it’s ok to strive for perfection but that it’s also ok when we fail because that is part of the process.
Hard work and effort always pays off and gets you closer to your goals. That’s what will make the difference, your time and your effort and your energy make all the difference in reaching the goal.
Giving children confidence and understanding with guidance will help them achieve their goals.
building a stegosaurus and what i ubderstand from this as a living fossil
we got this construction toy for sophia. a set of tubes and nodes, that you put together. the tubes are bendable, but rigid enough to build things.
there are no plans, there are no blueprints. just a picture of a buy who's supposedly made a stegosaurus. the saurid is taller by far than the boy. but i let my suspicion that he got help fall. let it be true.
my girl does not want to do the work herself if daddy is around. and so im enlisted in the project. by enlisted, that is to say that the task falls primarily on me. she stands and hands me the sticks, with her contribution being that the small, plastic node piece, she puts on one one end of the tube, to make the work faster. after a while, i see she loses interest and goes to make plastic sandwiches for the monkeys and bears.
i ask her if she wants to keep going with the project and she says yes. and so, i continue to plod along by myself, there were cutbacks in the construction staff, but we'll try to make the deadline. i call her up when the legs are done, she cones looks and goes, then when the body is conplete,...by the time 'we' finish the head, which stands much taller than her, and im holing is very cool to see, she doesnt bother. the toy nation is occupied with other issues.
its then that i realize that i was building this thing for me. much, much too late.
she does not care any more.
i worry constantly about being a parent. i know of the loose encironment i developed in. it had benefits, but also many many faults. i have no self control, no discipline, and very little in the way of acheivment. i see the little monsters i teach are even more brattish. clearly, discipkine is not an act of hate, but an act of love. to mold the clay is nobler than to let it just take the imprint of the gaps between the floortiles. but i know that i am already not molding as much as i could. there is just not enougg time. and tbe time i get with her, i spoil and cuddle. i just cant do otherwise.
later this evenibg, she stole an old summer dress from the closet. at first i tried to tell her to not make a mess, but then she started doing the buttons. it was hard for her, with her small fingers, to push the thing through the eyelet. but my girl didnt give up, and in the end was wearing the ridiculous steawberry dress around, to show off to the menagerie. and so she acheived something i struggle with on her own.
Perfection may sound lovely
But it's hard to maintain.
It may even be a hard
burden to bear, especially
for imperfect beings such as
ourselves, who by nature are imperfect in our actions,
thoughts, words and deeds.
To try to train a child
to be perfect, I feel,
would most definitely
end up disastrously...
with a frustrated child,
and a parent unable to give
to his or her child, support,
love, discipline, care and attention - what they really need.
I'd rather teach my child, or
any child to study hard and
just do the best he or she can do. I'd rather the child's mind healthy than for him or her to
be driven mad. Truth, I've seen and heard of many youth who
have chased the unattainable
lady perfection turn crazy
over the years.
Promethazine in a Baby Bottle
Born behind a shadow,
A second option for those—
who could not have
Pushing past limits
to fill a hole not meant for me.
To be the perfect one,
yet deep down
Do this, do that,
and don't disappoint.
The bar set high over
Broken from falling,
each time I miss
but the only way
This is who I am,
who I was raised to be.
me to change.
Unrealistic is not motivating
yet it brings results
if you ignore your life