The other night, Weston and I were reading 'The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear'. In the book, Sister Bear is a little nervous after Mama asks her if she's been good all year. She remembers the time she got in a fight with Brother Bear, the time she told a lie, and how she let her room get messy. Mama reassures her, saying that Santa Bear doesn't expect cubs to be perfect, just good.
For some reason, Weston was really intrigued by this and spent a good half hour telling me how the next day he was going to be perfect and not make any mistakes. He was going to be the best boy ever and be super polite. I told him that no one can be perfect and everyone makes mistakes every day, and he continued to insist that he was going to be perfect. Here is what I can remember from the list of things he was planning:
Eat all his greens;
Pick up all his toys;
No lying; and
Talk to people he doesn't know or doesn't like
I told him it sounded like he was going to be very busy doing all those things, and he nodded very seriously and said, 'Yes, I am going to be very busy, indeed'.
When he first started talking about it, I was thinking, 'This is great! I'm going to read him this book EVERY DAY!' I was even planning some bits I could add in, since he can't actually read yet. But as he went on, and on, and ON, I started to get alarmed.
Don't get me wrong; those are all great things, and I would love it if he would do them, along with about a jillion more I can think of. What bothers me about this is that I don't want him thinking his value lies in what Santa Bear or the people he doesn't know think. Or even what I think.
He's good enough just like he is; he doesn't have to be or do anything different, or 'better'. All those crazy people you know? The insecure friends? The ones that are afraid to wear a bathing suit or take a risk? The ones that keep dating or marrying the same creep over and over and over? Chances are good they're that way because they grew up being taught that they weren't good enough. They didn't get all A's, they weren't thin enough, they didn't have the right friends, they didn't rush for enough yards, or they didn't win the spelling bee. Over and over, until they believed it. And now they live as if it were true, and still is.
I want him to grow up knowing he's good enough, so you can imagine my relief the next day when he woke up the same messy, chocolate-eating, brother-pushing whiner he's always been.
UPDATED: I have become what I have sneered at.
11 hours ago