On Thursday, my daughter was upset. Nothing new in that, but it seemed to go on for longer than normal, and she was very reluctant to talk. The sun was shining, we were all enjoying the gorgeous spring weather….except she wanted to stay inside watching TV – which was very unlike her.
Finally, she accepted my offer to have a cuddle and chat, and it emerged that she hadn’t had a very nice time at school during Golden Time – the part of the day when they can choose what to do or play with. Her problem was, she couldn’t decide what she wanted to do. She walked around the playground on her own trying to decide what to play with. By the time she had chosen it was time to finish. ‘So I only got to tidy up’ she said, her face crumpling.
Whey-hey I thought, we’re on my territory. I know this. I’ve been there. So I told her that I too worry about making the right choice. And she admitted that, like me, she was sometimes scared about making the wrong choice, and ‘wasting’ her time. We talked about there being lots of right choices, and usually not many wrong ones or less good ones.
And then I got to the punchline. “And remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Life isn’t perfect, and we don’t really want it to be. So don’t worry about making the perfect choice, you’ll make a good choice and that’s OK.”
A few months ago, this encounter would have involved me asking about what things she could have chosen, and why she couldn’t choose, what to do next time, and it probably wouldn’t have got got us very far. Instead, she seems lighter after our sharing chat. I feel proud that I recognised the opportunity to start teaching her – at six – what I am only just learning myself.