Any job worth doing, is worth doing right.
Learning perfection might seem unimportant. However, it might help your child set himself apart from others in the employment process or business field.
Most of us have been victim to the “good enough” philosophy that so many practice. Shoppers might leave their cart in the parking space, even if the cart return is two cars away. It’s “good enough” and the store employees will retrieve it soon. Your restaurant meal arrives with mashed potatoes instead of the requested baked. But, it’s potato, so it’s “good enough.” A house painter misses a few small spots, but they don’t show much so it’s “good enough.”
My parents instilled values in each of us, including the concept that “any job worth doing is worth doing right.” Learning perfection begins at a very early age and continues throughout life. Our family’s lifestyle weaves this concept into school work and everyday life.
Good enough is not good enough.
The “good enough” concept quickly elicits a “good enough is not good enough” response. We encourage learning perfection, not because everyone can be perfect all the time, but rather because reaching for our best is important.
I recently heard Salman Khan of Khan Academy discuss his teaching philosophy. He explained that while getting a grade of B or C on an assignment might indicate passing, he interpreted it differently. He reasoned that if a child received a 75% grade, that meant he had learned 75% of the material. However, it also meant that he had not learned 25%. Therefore, he needed to continue learning to attain the other 25%.
Although I only recently heard his philosophy, it is one instilled by my parents and used by me with our children. When working on math problems, we redo each until the child understands and gets the right answer. Redundant? Yes. But, we feel they need to learn the entire process. If a child is not strong on his multiplication tables, how can we expect him to excel at higher math?
Learning Perfection for Life Skills
Likewise, we encourage learning perfection on life skills and everyday living, too. Washing dishes? Make sure they are clean and well rinsed. Sweeping the floor? No dust piles should remain,and yes, check those corners. Mowing the lawn? Ensure that the edges are neatly trimmed, too.
To be clear, we don’t stand over our kids each moment and point out deficiencies. However, we do monitor tasks and require them to be redone when needed. And, learning perfection might not always create laughter. In fact, sometimes frustration overcomes, but we continue on, encouraging that each job is perfected to the best possible outcome.
While we can re-wash a dish that isn’t quite up to perfection, these job skills learned as children and teens reflect on their future as adults. My father was a meticulous mechanic. His customers knew he paid close attention to each detail of his work. He was only satisfied when his work was completely and well done, whether it was an oil change or an engine overhaul. Our children continued learning perfection from him, too, by his example and that of others in our lives. And, it does make a difference in their lives as they train for and settle into careers.
Our goal is not to raise our children to be strict perfectionists afraid to make a mistake. Rather, we encourage a sense of willingness to do each job or event to the best, as God directs in Colossians 3:23.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people,” Colossians 3:23, NLT.