Earlier today I picked up my children (they only do a 1/2 day on Wednesday) and reminded my daughter about her upcoming doctor appointment this afternoon.
She told me it was right then. I told her it was at 2:00pm. She again said it was right then.
Instead of getting into an argument, I said, "It's possible that I made a mistake. Let's ask Daddy when we get home since he made the appointment, and if I made a mistake that's okay. It's okay for people to make mistakes."
(Can you hear the potentially patronizing, teacher-tone?)
My daughter did.
She knew right then and there that I was trying to teach her a "lesson" of some sort. She could hear the bullshit from a mile away. She's 5.
"Stop talking mommy."
"What? I am just trying to say that making a mistake is okay."
"Stop talking mommy. Just stop talking."
Bullshit detection--100% accurate.
Yes, I was trying to teach her something and instill in her a belief that she doesn't need to be perfect to be loved, that she can make mistakes and be worthy, that she can "screw things up" and be okay with it.
Right now in the Emerge Book Circle we are reading the book "Radical Honesty" by Dr. Brad Blanton. First of all, he uses the word "bullshit" a lot. Secondly, he talks about the dangers of imparting our moralism on our children. I wonder if he were to think that I was talking bullshit?
I grew up believing that I wasn't loved unless I achieved. I grew up believing that it was the external that mattered. I grew up believing that if I made a mistake, I would get in trouble. I grew up afraid of hurtful, demeaning words.
"This is unacceptable. You can do better than this. We don't tolerate grades like this in our house." And that was when I got a "B."
I grew up fearing not achieving enough, and thus not BEING enough. It's why and how I became a PROVER.
So, yes, I want the opposite for my children. I want them to be okay with not being perfect, with making mistakes, and still knowing and believing that they are lovable and worthy.
Is it bullshit?
Who knows? But my job of mothering didn't come with a manual, so I am doing the best I can.
That's all you can do too.