My 10th grade English teacher told me I'd always be “just a B+ student.” I don’t think her intent was malicious. She was attempting, however badly, to somehow motivate me to try harder to reach the extraordinary. Unfortunately, her careless words had quite the opposite effect and have stuck with me over the years. Recently they came up in a parenting moment with my daughter Malia.
Malia draws, paints, plays guitar, is great at soccer, and excels at many, many things that are way beyond my skill level. Among her many talents, she is currently penning two very different fiction novels (she’s nine!). She has a wonderful teacher who encourages and supports her. Excitedly, she told me she can't wait to show her work to her yet to be assigned teacher next year.
Even when we are doing well, we feel guilt that we are not doing enough, that we should somehow be an A+ at all times.
This simple statement filled me with angst and concern entirely based in my own negative experience. I suggested she wait until she gets to know her new teacher before trusting her with her work. She seemed kind of puzzled by my response so I told her the story of what my teacher said to me, something I’ve not spoken aloud to anyone before.
My daughter, who like many kids can get right to the heart of things, replied, “Well, that's stupid. You have a perfect house (she must love old carpet and giant dust bunnies), a fat cat, a funny husband (ha!), a daughter, and a pretty good job that lets you bring your child to work when there’s no school."
Her simple truth forced me to rethink my perspective. As parents, we often feel like we are failing. Even when we are doing well, we feel guilt that we are not doing enough, that we should somehow be an A+ at all times.
My daughter’s words helped me see that an imperfect life, a B+ life is OK. We may have days when lunchboxes and school costumes are forgotten, great friends we don’t always have time to see, and an extra 10 to 20ish lbs we can’t seem to lose. But, we have belly laughs, Saturday morning snuggles, and more priceless moments that beat perfect any day.
So, yes, my life is solidly B+ and guess what Mrs. S…that is damn extraordinary.