Why It’s Great to Be Bad at Something


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I didn’t intend to be bad at something when I innocently tried to make a holiday decoration, but here we are. It was actually a great thing.

My Sad Attempt at a Christmas Tree

We decided this year we aren’t going to put up a Christmas tree. We have kittens who are about nine months old, and they are very toddler-y in their attitudes.

They try to put everything in their mouths, climb everything they shouldn’t, break whatever they can.

In other words, not the best for having a tree with potential breakables/destroyables on it in the middle of the house.

I happened to have some wooden pallets (find similar but even better for painting here) and I thought it would be cute to paint a Christmas tree on one that we could then set on the mantle so we’d have something like a tree even without a tree.

It didn’t exactly work out the way I expected.

Even as I was painting it, I knew it was awful, but I kept going for a really important reason.

It’s Great for Our Kids to See Us Be Bad at Something

The main reason I wanted to keep going is because I wanted the girl to see that I did something that didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.

I think we so often show our kids sides of ourselves that are basically competent. They see us engage in things we already know how to do, whether that’s cooking and cleaning or enjoying hobbies we already like.

They don’t often see us struggle.

They don’t see us be bad at things.

They don’t hear us admit that we aren’t good at something or have messed something up.

It’s so important for kids to know that adults don’t have it all together. Not in ways that make them worry for their safety and security, but just knowing we are sometimes bad at something makes it ok for them to try and fail at things, too.

Making Bad Art and Doing Hard Things

I didn’t expect this little art project to be a hard thing, but that’s the way sometimes. You might have an idea for something and you can see the way it will look in your head but it just doesn’t turn out that way in reality.

And while it’s great to sometimes make bad art on purpose, when you don’t do it intentionally it brings you a different lesson.

This little failed art project reminded me that perfection isn’t the goal or even a real possibility.

It’s a good reminder for grownups, too, that not everything can or will turn out the way we imagine. And that’s fine. If you’re not messing up you’re not growing.

While the things we mess up are often a lot bigger than a terrible painting that can be easily painted over, it’s a good lesson to remember that mistakes and mishaps happen, in art and in life.

What we do next is the main thing that matters.

As for me, I’m painting over the tree and maybe I’ll try to paint something else on it later.

Have you messed up something small lately? I’d love to hear about it!

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