The Pressure To Be Perfect

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                        March 3, 2016

                                

A recent study out of England has concluded that parental pressure in many cases causes young athletes to resort to doping to enhance their performance level. Daniel Madigan, a PhD student at the University of Kent, writes that these “tiger parents” push their teenaged children to high levels of achievement. The athletes choose to turn to doping in order to meet their parents’ expectations and dreams.

The pressure to perform has been raised to now be a pressure to be perfect. I see it quite often in athletes who are more afraid of not meeting their parent’s expectations than letting their teammates down.

What now seems intolerable is failure! The reality, however, is that every game between two teams has a winner and a loser. The middle school boy’s team I’m currently coaching has won most of it’s games, but the other side of that is there are other teams who lose most of their games. Is that a bad thing? No, losing a game is just as much, and maybe even more so, a teachable moment as winning a game.

How often, though, do we look at falling short as total failure? “Falling short” is the reality of each of our lives. For some of us it surfaces in our athleticism, for others it appears in our school report card, and for others it becomes evident in the falling apart of our marriages or separation between ourselves and those who used to be close to us.

“Falling short” is part of our DNA.

Enter into that a reluctance to failing. Not a “Rocky” kind of perseverance, however, but a pressure to win that causes us to cheat, and fabricate, inject and falsify. Having perfect kids  becomes what parents press for, no matter the costs.

Little Johnny gets his own personal trainer who makes a living off “tiger parents.” The parents, however, expect Johnny to make them proud. They will not accept the fact that their son can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Johnny feels the pressure to perform and perfect and looks for that substance that will give him the advantage.

The pressure to be perfect is casting an ugly shadow over our schools and communities. Here’s the thing! Wherever there is some kind of unnatural or “unholy” pressure there will be an unhealthy reaction.

A high school junior gives up the sport he’s been playing since he was four because the pressure to be perfect has made the whole endeavor detestable to him.

A volleyball player suffers a major shoulder injury because she has overused the parts of her body that she spikes the ball with.

A student gets rushed to the ER because he has consumed too many high-caffeine energy drinks in his attempt to study for endless hours and hours in order to receive a 4.0 GPA.

A college student drops out of church, because his parents made him feel guilty all through high school if he missed any kind of church function. He began to think that God loved him only if he had perfect church attendance. Now he rarely goes, as he wrestles with this new thought of a God who is gracious.

The pressure to be perfect happens in just about any area of our culture, and it is often a very unhealthy experience.

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, children, Christianity, Community, Freedom, Grace, Jesus, Parenting, Pastor, Story, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

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