Monday, September 5, 2011

A Lesson in Imperfection

I had a great day at the beach today with my family.  We went sea shell hunting and found many treasures like mermaid coins, shark teeth and even two starfish!  I was looking for big shells to turn into candles.  My oldest daughter saw a huge shell and ran over to it but promptly dropped it.  "What was wrong with that one?" I asked her.  She shrugged, "It wasn't perfect."

I cringed a bit inside.  I will be damned if I raise my daughters to believe that everything has to be perfect in order to be great and wonderful and meaningful.  So, I told her a story of the spirit bead.

Native Americans are known for their intricate bead work.  Most pieces, from a woven belt to an intricate headdress took hours and hours of amazing artistry.  Still, into these carefully woven row upon row of beads, the women would weave a mistake bead into the piece.  They called it the spirit bead and its purpose was to remind us that we're not perfect, that we never can be.

The Persians used to weave their rugs with a purposeful flaw in their nearly priceless carpets for this same reason, and many well known painters did the same thing.

We're not perfect.  We never have been.  If we were, why would we have to be here, on Earth, in this school?  Let's drop the illusionary lure of perfection and just strive to be who we are each day, the best we can.

I think my daughter got the message because we came home with buckets filled with cracked, chipped, broken and beautiful shells.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. As always, when needed. It seems in my line of work (and probably many others) there is this constant need for perfection from myself and I know so many of my students feel the need to be perfect as well. One of my students nicely said today that one of his favorite feelings was that of relief. I think when we truly realize it is okay not to be perfect that there is a delightful feeling of relief. sighhhhhh :)