I called them in, these boys of mine. We were studying the tabernacle at the time. Visions of this exquisite, picture-perfect, to-scale model of the tabernacle were floating around in my head like the one I created during my junior high years with my sisters. That one that was put on display at church. Yes, that one.
The boys were excited. Spray paint and hot glue guns have a special allure, don’t they?
Boys huddled around as building commenced. In almost reverential awe, each one picked up the small saw and proceeded to cut balsa wood posts for the courtyard. I hovered over them, Bible in hand, to make sure that it was perfect.
But as I continued to step in, to adjust, to pause the building to consult our Bible and our awesome book on the Tabernacle, they drifted off one-by-one until I finally realized that I was the only one left building.
In frustration, I shouted for them to come back… This is school for crying out loud. And fun school at that. But it was too late. They had lost interest and I had no one to blame but myself. My obsession with the perfect model had killed their desire.
Letting Go of Perfection – My 2nd Chance!
As the project languished on the front room table, co-op day arrived and I was hosting.
My assignment for the morning – build a walk through replica of the tabernacle and the courtyard. I told them to be creative. Boys gave me skeptical looks. Given how the last week had gone down, I think they expected me to give a lecture on mathematical scaling and beautiful pseudo-authenticity. But I had come to my senses. The purpose here was for them to work together, creatively utilizing items from around our home that could symbolize each aspect of the Jewish tabernacle and then give the two moms a tour.
They stuttered briefly, before flying outdoors chattering with their friends as they constructed their own version of the tabernacle. It was a rousing success. They had fun and flexed those creative muscles. They made it their own. And while these images may not wow anyone on Pinterest, they made it. ALL.BY.THEMSELVES.
And that my friends, is powerful.
Whether it is your high ideal or what seems like someone else’s beautiful reality, we must hold firm to holding things lightly, to letting go of that “perfect idea” and in this case look towards memory making and kid-involved learning rather than parent-driven perfection.
I’m a work-in-progress, but I’m thankful for lessons like this along the way that help me learn to let it go…
And that beautiful Tabernacle diorama? We never finished it. I ended up throwing away all of the perfectly cut and painted posts, the half constructed tabernacle building, the hand-stitched coverings that the boys did make with the vivid, albeit crooked lines of scarlet and purple… My friend on the other-hand utilized things she had lying around the house. They used play dough and popsicle sticks. And it was awesome. Her kids loved it and her husband proudly posted pictures to Facebook. Let go, my friends. It’s totally worth it.