Perfection or Courage

Each day the topic of my blog just shows up. I tried to make a list of what I would write about each day, but that just doesn’t work for me.  I have to think about the day, I have to feel the mood, I have to reflect on the many thoughts going through my mind.  Let’s face it, I still procrastinate before I write.  Facebook? Pinterest? Articles? Whatever it is, my boys are in bed and I have now adopted a habit of typing away as I await Joshua’s arrival from school or work.

The question that percolates in my mind after a Ted Talk by Reshma Saujani on the importance of raising a generation of girls who are taught to be courageous, rather than being perfect.   Reshma recounts how it was not until she was 33 years old that she took the risk, raised her hand (didn’t I write about this last night?) and ran for Congress.  She did not win, but her experience changed the direction of her career and allowed her to help young girls to embrace imperfection.

What do you value in yourself? What do you value from those around you? Which one of the two do you value more in your classroom?

There is a tendency to admire courage in others, observe in awe as their brave actions seem effortless yet we do not see the inner struggle with imperfection. Reshman states, “We have been socialized to be perfect,” and each day perfection is what we measure against in ALL aspects of our lives.  We ignore those moments of bravery that occur in our minds, hearts, and actions each and every day.  Because we EXPECT perfection from ourselves.  Anything less than perfect makes us feel like we have not done enough, we did not try enough, or we can never achieve excellence.

May you realize today that you are brave.

You are courageous.

You are enough.

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3 thoughts on “Perfection or Courage”

  1. “Perfection of bust” is a dangerous message in a society where girls believe the problem is them. I know males battle the worthiness gremlins too, but watching women like Reshma Saujani rattles my feminist bone and challenges me to consider how I perpetuate the perfectionist message in my classroom. I don’t think we have to be Hillary Clinton or Beyonce to be brave. I think we are brave every day when we show up and help kids embrace a growth mindset. I’m glad you shared this TED talk, and I am glad I get to learn and teach alongside such a daring, imperfect woman daily!


  2. Thank you for the pep talk today! Sometimes I will sing the song “I Want to See You Be Brave” to my students when I start to see them backing away from a situation. Great post.


  3. what a gentle reminder – that we all need – about the dangers of striving for perfection. I am going to click on that Ted Talk just as soon as I am finished commenting. I try to live by your words each day, and some of what you’ve said brings it in to a whole new light. I need to acknowledge that others are struggling with that need for perfection – I have to have that in my head when I interact with them. Thank You.


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