My son Samuel last year had ten baseball games and I had been to the first seven games. However, I knew I would have to miss the eighth game coming up the very next weekend because of a work commitment I could not avoid. When I told Sam that I would not be able to come to his game, he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Dad that’s OK because you’re always there.”
You see, you don’t have to perfect — “Just Be Good Enough”!
Another true-life story illustrates this same point. I had a client decades ago who had a very demanding job. He owned a very successful custom home company that catered to our country’s elite. He only built one of a kind multimillion-dollar homes.
He told me he felt that he had to always be on top of his best game with his high-end clientele. He put forth an effort equal to 120 percent of his energies, seven days a week.
My client prided himself on the fact that he had built his company from scratch into the successful company that it was when I had met him.
However, one day all on his own he decided to stop working on Sundays to spend time with his wife and three boys.
He said to me, “Do you know what happened?” I shrugged my shoulders because honestly, I didn’t know what he would say next. He said that absolutely nothing happened. He was smiling and with pure joy, proclaimed he had lost not one customer, and in fact had gained a new client that he had never done business with before. He was ecstatic! You see, none of his clients had ever expected him to work on Sunday.
After a while, guess what happened? Yes, you guessed it: He stopped going to work on Saturday as well. He still didn’t lose a single customer and he still reported that he had so much business he didn’t know what to do; he told me all this with a boyish grin on his face. And guess what? He got to spend even more time with his wife and kids.
No one ever expected him to work on Saturday and Sunday. Yes, on Monday through Friday he still worked extremely hard, but he learned a valuable lesson about JUST BEING GOOD ENOUGH. I think he realized he was a better man for it.
For my client, it just meant work hard enough during the week, but be home on the weekends.
Finally, we have all heard the story about the young woman right out of law school trying to impress her new associates and employer in her first year working in a big law firm. Right out of the gate, she got in over her head and cost the firm over a million dollars because of a rookie mistake that anyone in her position could have made. Unfortunately, she was the one who made the mistake. It was a certainty in her mind she would be fired.
When nothing happened she sheepishly asked for a meeting with her boss and almost in tears inquired, “Aren’t you going to fire me?” He smiled and said, “Are you kidding, I just spent a million dollars training you!”
You see, sometimes as PARENTS we need to realize we JUST NEED TO BE GOOD ENOUGH.
When we make mistakes with our kids, we just need to own them and tell them that we are sorry. Yes, let me say it again: just tell them you are sorry. Your kids will say to themselves MY PARENTS JUST SAID THEY WERE SORRY! WOW, I have the coolest parents ON THE PLANET.
WHAT A GREAT LESSON THAT IS FOR YOUR CHILD, THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO HUMBLE YOURSELF WHEN YOU BLOW IT AND MAKE A MISTAKE.
What do you think they might do the next time they do something wrong?
You see, if you just show up, even if it is only seven out of ten times, and yes, like the builder in the example above, really be in engaged and show up for your kids when you are with them, your kids won’t even NOTICE the mistakes that we make.
And yes, believe me as parents we will make plenty of mistakes. I know because I have raised five kids as a parent. They all turned out really good, and yes we made plenty of mistakes.
But one thing I do know for sure is that I’m a GOOD ENOUGH PARENT! And that’s GOOD ENOUGH.
Timothy Milner LMFT, M.S.M.F.T., M.DIV., CSAT-C
Tim is the Clinical Director for Flatirons-Counseling Services-Serving all of Boulder County including Boulder, Longmont, Broomfield, Louisville, Lafayette, Superior and Westminster. We are also licensed to provide Skype Type (HIPPA APPROVED) Online Counseling and Therapy anywhere in Colorado.