My mind wanders frequently. My thoughts revolve around universal (and mostly young adult) issues. I attribute my thought process to my position as an educator. I am an English teacher, and more than that, I am a role model for future generations.
I take my role very seriously.
Lately, the idea of “perfection” has plagued my mind. Boys and girls are captivated by unrealistic images and figures in the media. Their enthrallment is alarming. I want them to understand that images can be “photoshopped,” or warped, in order to appease a selective form of perfection.
On a daily basis, we consciously and subconsciously receive messages loaded with the notion of perfection; however, “perfection” is an extremely ambiguous word that evokes many nuances.
In comparison to………
The first accepted definition of “perfection” appears synonymous with ambiguity, no?
Furthermore, the second and third definition conflict with one another. One definition allows for flexibility and growth, while the other suggests a state of permanence. Yet, nothing in life is completely permanent. We are always changing. Our thinking changes day to day. We are not the same as we were yesterday.
The word “perfect” means different things to different people. I think that natural bodies of water are perfect; I could sit by the ocean and listen to the tumbling waves for hours. On the other hand, someone else may recognize an ocean, a pond, river, stream, etc. as a potential flood hazard.
We all think differently. We all are different. This is what makes the idea of “perfection” an issue in itself. There is no concrete definition beyond its ambiguity.
Think about the advertisements we see, specifically on television. The portrayal of the “perfect family” is a common recurrence. Dad lounges on the living room sofa, his two children attentively listen as he reads them their favorite fairytale. Mom watches from the recliner, grinning, as she revels in this moment of pure bliss.
Before we become discouraged because our evenings do not mirror this commercial for life insurance, we must step back and think critically. This portrayal is nothing more than a mere snapshot in time–a snapshot of an ideal situation. The overall premise of the commercial is fair–there certainly should be more time devoted to family instead of phones, computers, and other forms of “cyber reality.” Nonetheless, this image of a “perfect family” is simply one example. Who’s to say what your own subjective definition of perfection is?
On weeknights, when I was younger, my family did not look like the family on television. My mom usually delayed dinner until my father got home, so sometime between 6pm and 7pm. She wanted my brother and me to see our dad before we went to bed. My father worked from 4am until his branch closed. In fact, he still does. When my father read to us after dinner, story time generally ended sometime soon after “Once upon a time…” because he fell asleep mid sentence. Considering his work hours, what could anyone expect? How energetic and enthusiastic could he be? Our bedtime stories didn’t mirror what we see today on television, but, you know what? Our family time was, and still is, perfect to me.
Don’t let some stranger’s quintessential illusion depress you. The next time you see an image that makes you feel inadequate, stop. Think critically about the situation. Think like a linguist. If the term “perfection” ultimately depends on the individual… then do you really accept this version as your truth?