Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When Curious Is Hard

Some mistakes are harder than others. Being curious is much the same.

All this month, we had been collecting mistakes and feeling good. Mistakes had been making appearances in our dinner conversations and little chats here and there.

It was all feeling easy until it wasn't.

Ethan and I hit a brick wall this week on a repeat offender, a mistake that kept cropping up. Scott Berkun would call this an involved mistake for Ethan but honestly, it felt like I had more intertwined or "involved" in it. 

It was all about homework. Ugh!

I have to admit that as a parent, I struggle with letting my kids make mistakes about school matters.

It's hard for me to let them deal with the consequences of forgetting a book at school or handing in an incomplete assignment. They never forget their lunch or miss the school bus because I am always double checking.

Hi, I'm Nancy and I am still a recovering perfectionist.

So, needless to say, Ethan's choice to let the whole weekend slide before he looked at his homework left me feeling a little unsettled.

I told myself that he'll get the work done. That would be the end of it but then SURPRISE, he made the discovery that he still had a notebook project to do. It was now late, too late to cram it all in and the realization at the 9th hour left us both OUT OF CURIOUS.

I was upset. He was embarrassed and apologetic. We went to our emotional spaces and for a while, we just went in circles.  It was hard to pull out of our roles, parent and child. I knew I couldn't do it.

I'm so glad that Ethan could.

Somewhere in the midst of my parent speech about responsibility - or maybe it was perfectionism talking, it's still up for debate - Ethan just stopped me and said,
"I guess I made a mistake, mom, a really good one."

The awareness in his voice was a jolt. It was all I needed to hear to get out of my parent trap - I am the adult, listen to me - and meet him in that moment.

And can I tell you, it felt so much better to find curious again, to see what was next. To hear what he was feeling and what HE was going to do rather than hold on to my perfect hard lines that told him what he HAD to do next. 

Thanks, Ethan, that really was a good mistake, for you and me, both.

No comments:

Post a Comment