"Trying for perfect is what makes you a human."

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Overheard from a child in the elementary this week, “Even if there’s no such thing as perfect, you can always try -- trying for perfect is what makes you a human.”

We all carry our own set of preconceived notions about what the word “perfect” means for us. Most of these notions are negative and elicit tension. That’s because, for many of us, perfect was treated as a destination. For the Montessori child, though, perfect is simply a guideline that helps her imagine how to increase beauty or efficiency, not a measurable metric like “100” or “A plus.” Our wise second plane Montessori child recognized that one of the fundamental concepts about the human tendencies that Dr. Montessori wrote about extensively. While the attainment of perfection is impossible, Dr. Montessori wrote that the examination of human beings all throughout history shows us that we have a tendency to fiddle with things until they look, taste or feel “just right.” This tendency to fiddle and imagine a better way is what Dr. Montessori called “self perfection.” Examining the human tendencies as outlined by Dr. Montessori promises to not only help us understand our children better, but also holds within it the potential to free ourselves of negative baggage when it comes to the way we view our own perceptions regarding work and purpose.