“Okay mama,” Jadalyn said cheerfully. Then she kept right on making her toys act, quite entertained by whatever they were doing. I don’t remember what my sister’s three-year-old had done. I just remember that Nikki gave her a simple correction, and Jadalyn made the change and kept smiling.
Jadalyn didn’t get pouty or dejected. She didn’t defend herself or get down on herself. She didn’t set down the toys, too deflated to give them life anymore. She accepted and kept playing.
The details are fuzzy, but I’ll never forget the revelation. This three-year-old has something to teach me about correction, and she’s a lot better at it than me.
I can’t remember a time when I was corrected and I simply altered course and kept smiling. It’s never that simple.
I might say I’m sorry and try to move on. But even if I don’t voice the defense, I’m proving my point in my head. If I’m not championing my own rightfulness, I’m reprimanding myself for messing up in the first place and imagining all the stupid things the other person thinks about me.
Correction pops me like a balloon. I always think if I try harder next time maybe I’ll keep perfection intact. Even if I was elated a second ago, my ripped balloon is now trampled in a puddle. It’s going to take me a hot minute to patch it up or find another perfect balloon. Once I get the balloon patched up, I’ve got one more weight holding it down, another thing I’ve got to remember to keep perfection afloat.
Of course, the amount of times I get corrected means the balloon is on the ground more often than not. Sometimes I frantically slap tape on the pin holes, but the tape never holds up. I focus so much on the holes it seems like I make them bigger.
Jesus often said to be like a child. I guess it applies in more ways than I thought.
What if I could simply accept the gift of correction and keep playing? It really is a gift when it comes from a wise person, and my obsession with perfection is really self-defeating. It’s a sin to be obsessed with perfection, so if I want to be more perfect I should really give it up.
It’s a beautiful thought. The idea of receiving correction and still floating like a balloon in a sunny breeze. It’d still be able to enjoy the sunshine and the view. It could say okay and keep playing, like Jadalyn.