Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Perfectly Imperfect

The boys are at an age when everything is a competition between them. I forsee many years of comparisons and contests in our future. One of the things they have been comparing recently is their height. Thing 1 has always been a little bit taller than Thing 2 and takes great pride in that fact. Thing 2 consistently strives to narrow the gap between them. And Shorty, well, he's hoping that one day he'll surpass us all.

Being renters and frequent movers, we have never had a wall on which we marked the growth of the boys. This past month we read The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.
If you haven't read this book with your little ones, I recommend it. It is lovely. Plus, there's a classic Disney animated short based on it.
Well, in the book, Ferdinand measures his growth on the trunk of a tree. That got my little men interested in being able to keep track of their growth. I agreed that it was a great idea to have a growth chart, but we needed one that we would be able to take with us when we move this summer and in the future.

I headed out to the hardware store and picked up a 6-foot-long plank of wood. We measured out 6 segments and each of the boys painted 2 sections in a very special color he had picked out all by himself at the craft store. Then they painted the lines all the way up marking the inches and feet.

The paint colors don't really coordinate. There are places where the paint is smeared. In other spots, the paint doesn't fully cover the wood. Sometimes one boy didn't stay within the "lines" very well. It is far from perfect. It may not even be beautiful.

It was exactly how I wanted it to be. If I had wanted it to be perfect, I could have bought a fabulous one designed by somebody who knew what she was doing. Just search "growth chart" on Etsy, and you will see. Some of my cousins even have a business making just this sort of thing. There is no shortage of amazing or adorable growth charts. If I didn't want to shell out the cash, I still could have insisted that the chart have a particular look that would perfectly compliment the decor. I could have picked out the colors, done the painting, and even some distressing or finishing touches to make it look just so.

Look at those faces. They are full of pride and the joy of having designed and created something all by themselves. Something that is uniquely their own. They would not look that way if they were measuring their growth on a chart created by someone else.

Isn't part of why I do what I do with homeschooling to allow them to learn who they are and how to express that? Isn't part of it to allow them to learn how to paint, build, and create?

It isn't about having a perfectly beautiful home. It's about loving the perfect imperfection that is our life and our learning and our growing.

It's about learning that it doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't even have to be beautiful. It just has to be ours.

Because aren't we all perfectly imperfect? Aren't we still growing and changing and learning with every day? Aren't there parts of who we are that are smeared, smudged, chipped, or even mangled? As we go through this day-to-day, year-to-year chaos that is growing up (yes, I think we are always "growing", never "grown"), we are never going to be perfect. There are many times we will not be beautiful. But we are loved by the one who Created us and who loves to see our growth.

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