Julie Lyles Carr: Monday Musings...When Do You Say When?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Musings...When Do You Say When?

The only people who find what they are looking for in life are the fault finders. 
~Foster's Law~

You would never know it by looking at the condition of my kitchen grout, but I can be something of a perfectionist.
Did you just hear that snicker? It was my neighbor JT. She sees much evidence in opposition to the above statement on a daily basis.

But it's true. The areas of my home and day timer and cabinets that are spared the ravages of kid pilfering are labeled, organized, sorted and categorized.

One reality of big family living with the bonus of homeschooling is that while expectations for character must remain high, housekeeping expectations must not.

Lest one go crazy.

People often ask me how I can remain so seemingly calm in a home environment where the noise and chaos level often rumbles off the scale.

I'm not calm, I tell them. I'm just sort of numb.

In a very spiritually mature, wise kind of way.

Sometimes.

And other times, I really fret about the configuration of my throw pillows on the couches and how everyone keeps touching them and messing them up when they, gasp, sit on the furniture.

Several of the kids are now old enough to help me keep the house somewhat maintained a couple of steps above 'barn and livestock' level. We expect the kids to help out with the maintenance of our home, helping keep things picked up, relatively clean, trimmed, weeded and swept. And this is where I've had to have the perfectionism scrapped off of me, one lumpy bed making at a time.

While we do want to set high expectations when it comes to chores and while we do expect the kids to aim high, there does come a point at which we just have to say, "Good enough." I've had to come to redefine my understanding of excellence; it has a lot more to do with character than results. If one of the kids scrubs a bathtub with all their might and with a joyful attitude, then I'm not going to undo their hard work with a too technical critique.

Even if the residue of a bath ring remains. And it makes me itch.

Because in the end, what is perfection anyway? Is it a result? Or is it the caliber of the process?

I'll give you a hint.

I suspect it's the process thing.

2 of 8 recently told me that one of the things she loves about dance is that there is no such thing as 'having arrived.' There is always more that can be learned, cleaned, stretched, improved. No performance will ever be perfect. But every performance is a celebration of increased ability, agility and achievement, not a cauldron of flaw, fault and failure.

Perfection in the process. Knowing when to say when.

Good things.

Come on all you perfectionists and fault finders. When do you say when? When you do decide that it's good enough, livable, acceptable? Write your own post on this topic and place the url of that post and your name in the Mister Linky's box below or leave a comment. Give us all some pointers on how to keep our standards high without keeping our standards set on the perfection expectation...




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