Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Giving up the perfect!!

It has been a while.

I would like to be able to say that I had writer's block and then reached some big profound epiphany and am now about to enlighten you with some of the greatest insights ever blogged. But, I can't. I did have writers block, but not in the typical can't think of what to write way. Wonderful children gave me great ideas every day and I was excited to sit down and put them on paper. Instead, I was blocked by my own desire for perfection. I didn't post, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to say was good enough, grammatically correct and entertaining.

In short - I was afraid of not being perfect.

How did I overcome it? By spending quality time with preschoolers. I watched these little people work hard at just doing. They find joy in the process and do not look for perfection in their results. They are the epitome of creativity and by watching them take risks I have become a risk taker.

For example...

In the 3-5s class I watched a child at the easel. She grabbed one paint brush, painted a little on the paper and then moved on (her painting was placed to dry). The next child came up and took a paint brush, used it on the paper for a while, grabbed another color, painted, grabbed another color painted some more - and then moved on (his painting was placed to dry). The third child came up stuck her hands in the paint, and proceeded to paint using her hands in swirling motions on the paper until she was finished.

All of these children were experiencing art, colors, sensory and CREATING without concern for the how, or the what.

A group of preschool girls, when given the opportunity will put on a "princess show" that doesn't follow and play writing class's version of an accurate script. But will in, their minds, have a beginning, middle, and end.

A preschool boy, can take a dollhouse, add some blocks and "cannons" and then invite you to play in his pirate ship.

Give any age preschooler a musical instrument and you will be gifted with a concert.

I am amazed and a little envious and this freedom, this passion for process that too quickly disappears and becomes a strive for product.

So...I am back at it. Like the children that I have the pleasure of spending time with. I am going to jump in and take chances. You might have to have patience will my commas, periods or dashes and you might be a little put off by my lack of perfection, but I am taking my cues from the experts on creativity and striving for the best in process I can create. I am hoping that good will come from my observations and that parents,students and friends will continue to find value in what happens "at the playdough table."

To play with a quote from "The Early Learning Challenge: Raising the Bar" — Secretary Arne Duncan's Remarks at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference

I am not going to let "perfection become the enemy of the good."

Today's lesson - BE CREATIVE. Just go for it. Try your hand at something just for the pleasure of trying it. Add chopped Heath bars instead of chocolate chips. Start a journal or blog. Grab some markers and paper and play. It is the New Year - make your resolution to just "try" Don't worry "if its not good enough for anyone else to hear..." or see, or read - just do it for your self and the sit back and enjoy the GOOD that resulted when you defeated perfection and didn't let it get in the way of your success!!

Today's parenting lesson - Let them CREATE. Try your hardest to stop asking, "what is it." and commenting on what they do. Yep, maybe they are going through a million pieces of paper and each has only one line on it, but perhaps they are trying to figure out something we have yet to understand, or they could just like it that way. This time in life, this freedom to do, without concern for the outcome lasts only a little while. Lets see what we can do as parents to extend it and let them explore without the limitations of expectations.

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