Why ‘Progress Over Perfection’ is a Crucial Mindset as a Parent

In all my years of parenting, being the mom of a 7-year-old second-grader has probably been the hardest. Not only is she asking all the questions, but she’s also going through many changes as she begins to discover her voice, personality, and values.

One of the biggest changes this year has been her education. As a second-grader, she’s now starting to see grades and reports for her work and assignments. While the past included a lot of work graded on effort, she’s now understanding that each choice she makes has a consequence.

Not only is her curriculum more rigorous, but her homework is also harder, too. This requires more time from our entire family.

In one of the first emails from her teacher, she expressed the importance of not seeing grades as final results, but rather signs of progress. Progress over perfection. That message spoke to me.

As parents, we’re often hard on ourselves and our children in hopes of achieving perfection. We take feedback to heart and sometimes forget that a letter grade doesn’t express the value of the child or the parent.

Mother and daughter enjoying together

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best or fastest reader. I’ve struggled with reading for as long as I can remember. Coincidentally, my daughter has a hard time reading too. However, instead of punishing or shaming her for not being where she needs to be, I celebrate how far she has come.

This mindset has opened me up to a more positive outlook on things. While progress reports use to scare me, I now open them knowing that a grade doesn’t define my daughter. I understand that she puts in the time and effort during the day and after school to continue growing and making progress.

While I’ve been using this trick principle with my daughter’s education, it can be applied to many aspects of our everyday lives. Whether it’s soccer practice, chores, or behavior, remember that progress is always more important than perfection.

I’ve even been practicing this mindset shift with my standards as a business owner as well. I realized that if I don’t expect perfection from my daughter, why am I expecting it from myself? My daily challenge is to be a better business owner than I was yesterday, and I have to say, this mindset shift is life-changing.