I think my daughter was maybe 18 months old when this picture was taken but really it could just as well have been last week. That look of concentration and curiosity is always just below the surface waiting to bust out. It was on her face as she sat at the kitchen table working on her math homework this past weekend.
When she was three and in preschool there was a play set outside the school that the kids would climb on and swing from. Part of the play set was a metal bar about four feet off the ground. Not being a particularly tall child she found that she couldn’t quite reach the bar to swing on like some of her friends could. Her teachers told me that she would stand under that bar every day and jump and jump and jump trying to grab on. Then one day when I cam to pick her up she dragged me over to the bar and said. “Watch this.” She bent over, scooped a pile of wood-chips into a pile under the bar, stood on top of that pile and grabbed the bar. “Look I can reach now.”
Sheer determination had enabled her to reach her goal.
She started grade three this year and is in a split class with other grade three student and grade four student. Split classes are petty normal these days and it was bound to happen but I was still a bit apprehensive. When she came home that first and told me about her new class I asked her how she felt about it.
“Great. It will be a challenge for me to try to do grade four work too if I’m allowed.”
Whether I like it or not I have been blessed with a child who loves to push herself and is determined to try everything and anything she is presented with. Now while this is all well and good, it can create some……let’s call it……drama.
Both my husband and I have voiced concern to ourselves and her teachers that she could be a bit of a perfectionist and that it could mean problems in the future. So far it has hasn’t. Typically perfectionism in a child manifests itself in these ways.
- chronic procrastination and difficulty completing tasks
- easily frustrated
- overly cautious and thorough in tasks (ie takes 3 hrs to do homework that should take 20 minutes)
- frequent catastrophic reactions when things don’t go perfectly or as expected
- refusal to try new things and risk making mistakes
So now I’m thinking that maybe I am the one that’s a perfectionist and that my daughter is totally okay. It’s a huge relief because The Best Thing in Life is knowing that your kids are going to surpass you when it comes to succeeding in life.