Have we come to expect perfection in everything? I haven’t had the time to truly experience nature in, well, decades really. I’ve missed the lessons and reminders it provides. The different rates of growth, the diversity in plants, trees, animals.
I work with children, and have three of my own. I’m currently surrounded by books and readings about these little people, as I’m back to studying. There seems to be such a push to see children achieve developmental milestones at various ages. We dwell on them when our children don’t achieve them, and are shocked when they suddenly reach them in their own time. We mourn if they never reach them. Its blaring, everywhere, from books to social media, casual mom chat to developmental checks. And there are checks for a good reason. We are concerned about our children and can give support when and where needed to help children reach their full potential.
But a walk down the road leads me past hundreds of Hawthorn trees, all varying in size and shape. Some are green, full and lush. Others are in full bloom, covered in blankets of white flowers.
Our vegetable garden is growing, and the children observe far more than me. They’re fascinated with the large bushy cucumber plants with their “fuzzy” large leaves. My son pointed out two small plants, appearing weeks behind the others in growth. And the following week they are excelling in growth with speed and resiliance. I pause as I stare at the slightly smaller plants I was about to pluck from the garden a week ago. They were not perfect.
I walk through the produce section of the super market. The veg is displayed in perfect rows, all the same sizes and shapes. There’s a fashion show on telly, models line up in similar ways, same sizes and shapes. Same facial expression on all. We’ve grown to expect similarities and perfection, in appearance anyway.
I just wonder do we expect too much from people. Do we expect everyone to be more or less the same? I’m a little bewildered. How boring life has become. Even the foods we eat have become, well, perfectly boring. All the same and wrapped in perfect plastic packaging. At times I’m afraid to ask questions or to write and share my thoughts. What will people say or think, is this writing out of line? How boring and confined it’s all become.
How far we have come from nature, where perfection and similarities are unusual. Where difference and diversity brings beauty to our eyes, music to our ears, and flavour to our mouths.
Preschool curriculums have become increasingly based on self guided learning. We are encouraged to support children in their interests and play, and it’s comforting knowing we are valuing children’s varying interests and abilities again. We are encouraging problem solving and exploration above perfect hand print arts and crafts. I hope we’ll start to see increasing interest in other’s voices as this generation grows older, stepping away from a quest for perfection and spicing up life and culture as we know it. Food for thought, and not the perfect produce wrapped in plastic kinda food. 😉