Parables Penetrate the Heart
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Perfectionism is debilitating. It’s about setting unrealistic standards for yourself. It’s about having no relief from worry over making mistakes. It’s about never feeling that you measure up. It’s about constant stress.
 
In today’s digital world, perfectionism can reach epic proportions when we fall into the trap of comparing our lives with the online lives of others. How can we help our kids understand the perils of slipping into this unhealthy habit?
 
One option involves storytelling. Stories stick in the mind but parables penetrate the heart. Here’s a parable you might share with your child…your teen…or yourself:
 
Two Sets of Glasses
 
Two gentlemen were lifelong friends. Both were having a hard time seeing because both were well along in years.
 
Although he had the money to buy a fine set of glasses, one man opted to spend the cash on something more fun and exciting. Still struggling with his vision, though, he found an inexpensive set of used glasses at a local thrift store.
 
His friend, in contrast, spent his money on an eye exam and a new pair of glasses that fit his specific prescription.
 
Two Views of Others and Ourselves
 
What the first man didn’t know was that the glasses he purchased at the thrift store were more than they seemed. They held special powers. Wearing them, he was amazed by how good his friends looked. Everything they did and everything they had were amazing. All looked new and sparkling until he arrived home to see his small hut in shambles. His possessions were worn and dirty, and his image in the mirror hideous. He thought, “Nothing I do…and nothing I have measures up.”
 
The second man was also amazed by what he saw through his glasses. “It’s so great to see my friends more clearly.” He thought, “These glasses cost me something, but now I can now see clearly.” As he walked about the village and came to his home, he thought, “Everyone I know is more or less like me. There are parts of their lives that seem happy and others that seem sad. These good glasses help me see that we are human…that none of us are perfect. All of us struggle.”
 
The Truth
 
Being kind to himself and others, the second man said to the first, “Try on my glasses. Maybe they will give you a more accurate view.”
 
The first man agreed, and he immediately saw the difference. “When I see the truth,” he said to his friend, "I see that we are all wonderful messes!” As these words came out of his mouth, the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders.
 
Some questions
 
Which set of glasses caused pain and sorrow to the wearer?
 
When we compare ourselves with others, which set of glasses are we using?
 
When we only know people through digital devices, which set of glasses do we wear?
 
Is it safe to wear glasses that cloud the truth?
 
Which set will you choose to wear?
 
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
 
Dr. Charles Fay

 


 

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