Of all the things I have passed on to The Who (and there are many, genetically speaking) the one I am sorriest about is perfectionism.
This is a personality trait of mine that I didn’t really understand or acknowledge until pretty recently, but once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it. Sometimes, it’s a non-issue. Or even works in my favor. When I’m doing something I’m good at, my perfectionism makes me precise, focused, and yields great work. But when it’s something I am unsure of, it ruins me. It makes me anxious and preoccupied and overwhelmed and gets in my way of completing things that need to get done.
The Who exhibits some of the same behavior. A lot of it, I know, is his age. He’s figuring out what he’s good at and what risk-taking looks like and how to manage his own expectations of himself. Actually, to be perfectly honest, maybe it’s not as bad for him as I’d thought it might be. He’s much more willing to try things and fail lately, even though the failure is often really disappointing for him. But that, we can manage. Helping him deal with frustration and disappointment feels a lot easier than trying to get him to just try something he might not be perfect at.
There are still some things he just won’t do. He won’t learn to ride a bike. He won’t try to conquer monkey bars. And he tells me it’s because he doesn’t think he can do it and he doesn’t want to fail. (To be fair, he does think he will try them someday and history does show that when he’s ready, he’s just ready, so…) But, still, I see him taking risks elsewhere. Submitting his writing for contests, signing up for basketball, digging into a new recipe with me (the one thing that seems to trigger my own problematic perfectionism, inonically.)
Ok. So maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe this distasteful trait isn’t actually repercussive for him after all. Maybe I just passed down flappy ears, an extreme propensity for chattiness, and killer timing with the puns. He could’ve done a lot worse, I suppose.