Ok, so cute...!
I was sitting with my son the other day (5 years old, almost 6), eating some nachos or something. And here is the conversation that followed...
"mom, this chip is kinda like a triangle. Sorta. Well, it's "ish."
(He said it all matter-of-factly, yet with a question, at the same time.)
I looked at him, smiled and said,
"Yeah, I guess it is. It's -ish."
Then he went on...
"We are kind of -ish too, huh?"
And I said...
"Yeah, that's true. We are ish. And that's ok, isn't it?"
And responded with a smile...
"Yep. It's ok being ish."
And we continued eating our nachos, as we smiled together--bite after bite of our "triangle-ish" chips.
We had read a great, simple book a few times in the last year, that I could tell played a part in his awareness of this "ish" principle.... It's called Ish, by Peter Reynolds.
It is about a little kid who got frustrated that he couldn't draw the flowers perfectly. But then found out his younger sibling treasured his artwork more than he could've imagined. And told him his art was ish, and beautiful. Once that boy felt valued for his contributions in the way he best could contribute, he felt empowered to do more. He felt valued and special. This acceptance and love allowed him to do more and express himself greater--and draw--as he felt inspired (rather than based just on a specific, perfect outcome or result--according to some outsiders perspective and view).
Such a valuable lesson for all kids (young and old). If kids don't learn this principle when they are young, it will be a lot harder to break them out of their perfectionism and self-imposed walls of non-self-expression later. It's important to build and encourage our kids in ways they can contribute, not focusing on what they can't or where they fall short. They need to be allowed space, time, and ways to learn and grow. And what we do and say to nurture that growth in themselves (or hinder that) can have far lasting impacts.
After our lunch I was able to briefly mention that we are ish and make poor choices that get sad consequences. But that Christ, because of his great life of good choices got the greatest consequence of all: eternal life (including his resurrected/perfect body back and living with God again). And we too, even if we feel imperfect or "ish" can trust that as we love the Savior and try our best...he views our "ish" as beautiful. Because our ish is us giving what we can--an he focuses on our potential.
Whether of not Ethan gets the details behind this eternal truth, at this point, isn't my main focus; Just that he knows Christ is ok with Ish, and so am I. And seeing Ethan happy to just try--how he can--and not be scared of "failure" to hit a specific standard or expectation (that is not of eternal consequence), is good for me.
There is way too much comparison in this world. So many expectations and standards that some begin to take higher priority than those standards that really matter--like a Christlike character.
There is also too much negative/fear in this world. Fear is the opposite of faith. Where fear is, faith cannot exist. And I choose a house of faith. As long as we have faith in Christ, we can move forward to reach our potential. And I'm happy with that, even though our steps and accomplishments may seem slower or more "ish" compared to others. Our ish will be the ish it needs to be and we will have joy in our "ish-journey," knowing we are taking steps that matter, towards our eternal potential.