Good Enough is OK…It Really Is!
How many times have you told your child, “It’s OK to be OK”? Not great, not good, but … passable.
Not that often, I bet. If one extreme of parenting is automatic validation — the participant trophies and everyone’s-a-winner mentality — then the other is conditional approval, the idea that nothing is worth doing unless you can be the best at it.
Between these poles is Amy Krouse Rosenthal, whose valuable message of tolerance and experimentation runs through her inspiring body of children’s literature — a list that includes one of my favorites, “The OK Book.”
This week author Amy Krouse Rosenthal died of ovarian cancer, she was 51 years old. It is a very sad loss for all of us especially children, she was a prolific writer of books with profound messages for both parents and kids.
I especially like “The Ok Book”. Good enough is OK just like the “good enough mother which was made popular by the family theorist Donald Winnicott.
“very subtle things that the mother knows intuitively and without any intellectual appreciation of what is happening, and which she can only arrive at by being left alone and given full responsibility…” (Winnicott1988, p64).
Amy had an understanding of children and wrote in a way that was kind, gentle and inspiring to the reader. She reminded parents that there is joy in trying something for the first time even if you aren’t very good at it. After all if you don’t encourage your child to do new things because they might not like it or might not be good at it think of all the missed opportunities. Good enough is ok is the key to trying when perhaps you don’t really want to do so.
We cannot like everything but wow how fortunate to have new things all around us to try.
Amy thought that life was meant to “Figure it out as you go,” Rosenthal said in a 2010 speech. “If it were imperative to have all the answers before beginning, no one would start anything.” Drop a pancake, fall out of a handstand, slip off the sled. “It’s okay to not have it all worked out.”
Clearly, it all did not work out for Amy to have a long life and see her own kids grow into adulthood. There are no words for her family’s grief and loss. My heart is heavy for them. I can only hope that Amy’s prophetic words “figure it out as you go” holds them up as they move forward.
Good enough is ok!