Celebrating Imperfections – and Then Demanding Perfection

We humans are quite the complex species.  We are nothing but a bundle of contradictions.  There are TV shows that reveal the hoarders in our society and these shows are generally followed by or led by shows about those who are the epitome of perfectionists, insisting on dusting their homes countless times a day.  I have to be careful watching any these “reality” shows – I will stress over whether I have any tendencies from either side.  I’m sentimental and still have love letters from my first love in high school stored away, and yet, I also believe pantries should be organized: canned goods with canned goods and boxes of cereal with other boxes of cereal.  I sweep and then Swiffer before I mop.  I change the sheets every single Saturday – even in the guest room, but I could probably stand to clean the ovens and baseboards a bit more often than I do. Oy….it’s confusing business being a human.

But then, I take a look at the headlines, take a step back and take another look.  One headline this morning on one of the major news sites is how runway models are embracing their unique looks and opting to forego “corrective” surgery that would “perfect” them.  Jewel and Barbra Streisand have both gone on record and said they had no intentions of correcting their “imperfections”.  I say, ‘Yes! Finally!’

Right next to this article is another story about a North Carolina restaurant that’s banning restless little ones.  Quite controversial, to say the least; still, most of the comments (and I think were close to seven hundred already today) say, “Nope….we don’t want screaming babies interrupting our night out”.  Their points are valid.  One woman said that she paid a babysitter $50, paid $100 for tickets to an art show and then had to bite her tongue because of a screaming and ill-behaved five year old who ruined the night not only for her, but for anyone else within earshot – all because this child’s parents didn’t hire their own babysitter for the evening.  The parents failed to insist the child behave, and instead, allowed him to run through the art gallery.  My first inclination was, “Kids are kids – you can’t keep them at home until they’re past the temper tantrum stage”.  And it’s true.  Ah…but here’s where it gets hokey.  Ill-behaved children in public are doing exactly what kids do: they’re being themselves, in all their frustrating, adorable and patience-testing ways.  It’s their parents who fail to take advantage of the many teaching opportunities their kids are providing.  Since when did discipline become the social no-no?  This has nothing to do with whether spanking a child is acceptable or not (don’t even get me started on that one); rather, it has to do with parents who refuse to step outside their selfish circles and taking their little ones aside until a.) they’ve calmed down, b.) Mom’s put the fear of God in them (or as my grandma used to say: “It’s time for a come to Jesus meeting”) or c.) Mom and Dad call it an early evening because little Billy refuses to behave.  They don’t want to damage their psyches.  Please!  They’re not old enough to have psyches yet!  They are, however, old enough to be taught what’s acceptable and unacceptable for public behavior.  Want your kids to “be kids”?  Wonderful! Just be sure those around you aren’t punished for your bad choices.   Oh – and by the way – want to see what undisciplined children become?  Read my post last week on Paris and Lindsay.

Before I go back to my stressing over whether or not I have hoarding or perfection tendencies, I’m getting ready to do a series of reports on child beauty pageants.  Here’s the deal:  If you participated in pageants as a child or if you’re a parent of a child – either current or former – and have something to say on what’s sometimes called “kiddie pageants”, I want to hear from you.  I want to know how you feel about it now, especially if you’re a teen or an adult and participated in beauty pageants as a small child.  Ideally, I’ll get a nice mix of those who support it and those who now wonder if it was worth it. I’d also like to hear your story and opinions on the various reality shows on TV now – exploits or an open door for dreams to come true?  Drop me a line at donna@donna-mcgill.com.

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