No One Is Perfect

Happy Monday, Deac families.  Impossible as this is to believe, it is somehow November.  Your students have a scant 5-6 weeks of school left, and then they will return to you for the winter break.

I saw something this weekend via Facebook that made me think a lot about our students.  This particular article was meant for parents of young kids who are trying to create the perfect family picture (holiday card season is coming after all).  It is all about how social media outlets like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram help feed the idea that everyone else is doing a great job with life – amazing food! fabulous house decorations! beautiful and well-dressed kids! – and that in reality it isn’t true.  And seeing everyone else’s so-called perfection is daunting.

This quote jumped out:  “Live your messy life and don’t apologize for it. Don’t scrub the ink off your toddler’s arms before you Instagram it or move the dirty pile of laundry in the background. Because your real life moments are a beautiful mess. And they are more encouraging to your friends than you know when they show up on their screens and feeds.”

Think about that for just a minute.

Live your messy life and don’t apologize for it.

Your real life moments are a beautiful mess.

And they are more encouraging to your friends than you know when they show up on their screens and feeds.

How does this relate to your students?

Quite often I hear students talking about how everyone else seems to have it together.  They look good, they are getting good grades, they are socially happy, yadda yadda.  And students can – wrongly – assume if they are having a bad day, get a bad grade, are homesick or sad or worried etc. that they are somehow not as good as their compatriots at Wake Forest who appear to have everything going for them.

And whenever I hear this, I try to remind the person I am talking to is that what he sees is everyone else’s ‘game face’ – the face you turn to the world to make yourself look as best you can to others.  But inside all of us, we have our own issues and concerns and struggles, and when something looks perfect, it rarely is.

One of the things I would love to see is more students find the place within themselves that allows them to shed that game face.  If they are having a bad or mad or sad day, show it (constructively, of course).  Or be willing to self-disclose their challenges and issues – just to normalize for the rest of their cohort that everyone has things they have to overcome.  That might encourage others to show their authentic selves, flaws and all.

None of us can be perfect, but we are a college of enormously high achievers.  In those moments when our lives are a beautiful mess, what if we let it show?

Food for thought.  I welcome your comments as always at parents@nullwfu.edu.

 

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