I love gingerbread houses! Despite the snow coated roof, when I see a gingerbread house and I instead absorb a lovely warm feeling. In some weird way they remind me of summer, holidays and fun times. Strange but true!
Last night my 7 year old daughter Jirah, and I made a little ginger bread house. The kit came with the house slabs, candy and a ready-made icing tube. All we had to do was follow instructions to decorate and assemble.
As Jirah excitedly fumbled with the icing tube and began creating what didn’t look much like the picture, I felt the urge to take over and do it myself, so that the gingerbread house would look slick and gourmet. I had to make a conscious and restrained effort to let her do it alone AND enjoy the process. She did a fab job in the end – if you look from a distance!
I woke up this morning and looked at her candy-ridden gingerbread house and thought to myself; ‘It looks so gorgeous.’ To think that I could have deprived my baby girl from the feeling of ownership, accomplishment and pride had I given in to my natural tendencies and my own definitions of beauty and excellence.
I learnt two lessons:
1. Let people learn by doing. Don’t let my standards and expectations get in the way of the priceless experience of learning. This gingerbread house was not about me, it was about my little girl. It was about her enjoyment and our bonding.
2. My definition of excellence is not the only definition. Excellence can mean different things to different people depending on age, context, experience and taste. Understanding this will help me see beauty more often.
Have you had a similar experience to me? What did you learn from it?