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THEY say that children learn from adults, but I’d say they also have many things to teach us. Adults have presumably gone through the cycle of life, only to come out grumpier and pessimistic.

For example, many people just go through the motions day in and day out, failing to stop and appreciate the beautiful life around them.

They get bogged down with work, the stress of commuting and the hassle of living. They end up venting to those around them, including their children. They also become overly critical when things don’t go their way.

Children, however, are hardly bothered by life’s imperfections. They choose to enjoy the moments and run free instead. No toys to play with? No problem. They improvise and turn household materials as guns, swords or steering wheels. You can trust the innocence of children to see everything as beautiful. I came across a quote recently. It said: “Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect.” What a beautiful advice.

Have you ever had the unpleasant experience of working with a perfectionist? Maybe you have; perhaps during your school days or even now in the workplace. Or, maybe you may have even experienced it at home — with your family. Yes, perfectionists are everywhere. They usually would torment and wreak havoc with the people they’re working with.


The term “Murphy’s Law” was coined to highlight that we can’t really plan for perfection. Perfection belongs only to God and we humans will make mistakes. If parents or spouses are obsessed with perfection, the family would see him or her as controlling. No one likes to be controlled. It stifles our creativity and causes unnecessary stress. That was exactly how I felt with the two clients.

At home meanwhile, controlling parents who expect things to be done their way are not good motivators for their kids. The whole family may feel suffocated and choked with negative emotions. It’s good to expect great things from our kids but when we become too set in our ways, we may miss out on other important aspects.

Returning to our children, we can reapply this concept to them too. No one is perfect, including our own kids. Instead of harping on about their imperfections, try hard to see them for what they are. Even those born with special conditions — physically — haven’t only survived but thrived in this world. It’s a matter of choice whether we want to focus on their weaknesses or choose to appreciate and leverage on their strengths.

Just like what I experienced, everyone else, our kids included, will also feel proud and valued when we choose to appreciate what they can do rather than dwelling on what they could have been. That would motivate them to strive harder and become better the next time.

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at [email protected].

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