Practice makes progress, not perfection.
Voltaire said it so well, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
We are all in process. Not fully baked. Not quite done. Some of us are almost, but not yet there. We are all learners in different stages of our own growth process. Only those who expect themselves to have already arrived will have little room for those that have yet to arrive. Themselves included.
If we stop expecting perfection we might be so much happier with the results we get in life. Most importantly, we’ll be excited about ourselves, and others. Perhaps it’s time to set down the idol of the perfect, and accept what is good.
Vol 1 Issue 2
- Book Review: The Productive Narcissist
The Productive Narcissist is a catchy title for a book that addresses a deeply complicated topic. Michael Maccoby, the author, is a long time therapist and consultant to executive leadership teams and companies. He brings a unique understanding to the challenges of Narcissism, and gives plenty of examples of these challenges from real world visionary leaders (Oprah, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc). He also adds more detailed examples of his professional work with leaders and companies.
His premise is that dynamic visionary leaders are Narcissistic in nature. The challenges that visionary leaders create either make them productive or unproductive in how they lead. Michael does a great job outlining the challenges that come inside organizations with a Narcissist at the helm. These challenges often create a perpetual chaos that is difficult to manage for others in their organization. Michael also talks about the different personality types that Narcissists attract to carry out the mission.
This is a helpful book to read if your interested in learning more about narcissism, or more importantly if you have a narcissistic person with whom you are in close relationship. That might be a relationship in the work setting (boss or co-worker), a marriage/partner, or with a family member. Throughout the book, he gives practical tips and strategies for how to engage a narcissist, specifically in the workplace. More important than the tips, I think this book challenges the reader to have compassion for the narcissist in their life. It was good for me to read this book and remember what Plato said: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a fierce battle.”
(It is worth noting the significant difference in someone with narcissistic personality disorder [NPD] and someone who has narcissistic traits. As imperfect humans, we all have narcissistic tendencies: Me first, grandiosity in the heights of our amazingness or in depths of our badness, and other traits. These tendencies don’t mean someone has NPD, which is why I recommend caution in using labels to describing someone’s character.)
- Study Shows Pressure Girls Receive from Boys to Send Sexualized Images.
The NY Times ran an op-ed based on a recent study of 500 High School girls. The study found that only 8% wanted to send sexually implicit images to a boy. The rest (92%) of the girls did so out of being coerced, fear of conflict, or to acquiesce. Further research showed that boys are four times more likely than girls to ask for sexually explicit photos to be sent.
I walked away from reading this article remembering how important it is to talk with both our girls and our boys about the dangers of technology and sex. The Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” does a great (though difficult at times) job of illustrating the negative impact illicit images can have on a teen community. The bottom line: We need to talk with our boys about not requesting the images, and we need to talk with our girls about not sending them.
- Parents Model Appropriate Technology Use
Who needs a babysitter when you’ve got an iPhone? This article from NPR offers some practical tips on being a parent with technology. Before we start instructing our kids about their technology use, we need to look in the mirror.
How much we’re on our phones while we are with our kids might have a lot to do with why they are on their phones so much. Consider having family boundaries around technology use in the evenings between dinner and bedtime. Alternatives to technology use (which is almost never communal in nature) that can foster memories and relationships: Puzzles, board games, neighborhood walk/hike, or exercise. Kids imitate the parents’ actions, not necessarily what the parents tell the kids to do.
I’d read the book “Wonder” several years ago, which I’d highly recommend, but hadn’t watched the movie until last weekend. From start to finish, this is a fantastic movie that will stir up a lot of questions and conversations for both kids and adults alike. Wonder brings up themes of bullying, disabilities, identity, the family roles we play, loneliness, the pain of parenting, and the power of friendships.
There was one scene that was particularly moving to me. The mom, played by Julia Roberts, is talking to Auggie (her son with a significant facial deformity) about his wish to be normal looking. It’s a powerful scene, made even more powerful when she touches her finger to his chest/heart and says, “this is the map of where you’re going, and your face is the map of where you’ve been.” A beautiful reminder to pay less attention to what we look like and more attention to who we are and who we are becoming.
The Viewpoint is a weekly roundup of content I have come across throughout the week that is worth reposting. This content will often be an article or a book I’ve recently read, or something else that is of cultural significance. One of my good friends talks about the word “viewpoint” as nothing more than a view from a point. When we change our point of view (or sometimes the point of our view — which is a different issue altogether), we can see differently. Relationships grow when we are open to changing our view.
Another result of kids not knowing their place
, or their usefulness in the family, is low self-esteem. Low self-esteem happens for our children when we, the parents, don’t allow our children to wrestle with the normal realities of life. Making decisions for them and not allowing them to fail prevents children from developing the necessary internal resources that are vital to identity and self-esteem.
As parents we can’t teach our kids things that we ourselves do not know. It’s likely that a parent with low self-esteem will not be able to allow their children to struggle with life because they themselves don’t feel confident in their own life struggles.
This is a but a small reason why parenting is so hard: Our kids expose our vulnerability and weakness.
Instead of growing these weaknesses in ourselves, it’s natural to take the easy way out and do things that ensure our kids cannot expose our weakness in the future.
Good parenting is about allowing our kids to organically point things out to us that we then address and mature instead of punishing or controlling our kids. The difficulty is that kids are unknowingly walking around as a mirror to us … and we don’t like it.