Perfection Is Boring

In The LEGO Movie, they sing that “everything is awesome” because, in the little brick world in which the movie begins, everything about life operates in such a way that even mistakes seem wonderful in the rare instances when they occur. And by rare, of course, they mean almost never. The real world in which we live does not work like that. Life is an excessively flawed diamond full of contradictions, accidents, headaches, failure, difficulties, joy, unbearable laughter, and hardship, and who would want it any other way? Perfection is boring.

For example, it is my opinion that “To Build a Fire” by Jack London is one of the most beautifully crafted short stories an American writer has produced. Every school year, this is the story that led off my literature classes. And every school year, no matter how I tried, it failed to ignite with my students. Everything is awesome only because rarely is everything awesome, and that makes the world a constant source of surprise and wonder.

We think we want things to be perfect, flawless—but deep down inside we know that perfection just isn’t…well…perfect. Or ideal. Certainly science is this way. Many laboratory mistakes end up being described as “happy accidents,” including the discovery of Vaseline, Post-It notes, vulcanized rubber, and dynamite. Life is not all smooth sailing and sunshine. Progress is not a constant forward motion; it comes in fits and starts. This is the case with creating effective lesson plans, learning how to drive, sustaining a romantic relationship, or launching a dramatically revamped teachers’ resource website.

If you’ve got an example of flawed perfection that worked well for you in your classroom, we’d love to hear it.


One thought on “Perfection Is Boring

  1. Laura,

    We certainly share in your frustration, as the launch of our revamped website was as rocky a road for us as it was for you. Perhaps more. Nevertheless, we do believe that with a few minutes of exploring, you’ll find that the new version of offers you everything you were used to and more. For starters, we’re offering so many more of our resources, we can’t even put a number on it. Also, any time you see the word SEARCH next to a magnifying glass, click on it and type in a search term. Wait until you see how easy it is to find what you want — either through refining your search or simply by being able to better see what your results are.

    As a magazine subscriber, the new digital format of The Mailbox magazine is super-easy to access and use on any Internet-connected device. And you can add your favorite ideas to your online files or your new online planning calendar in a snap. Really! And when it’s time to print the things you like? Put them into a print packet that ensures all the ideas and reproducibles you need come out of the printer together (a great convenience when printing to a shared/networked printer).

    Remember, perfection is boring. Yes. And change is tricky, without a doubt. But one thing that doesn’t change is The Mailbox’s commitment to making teachers’ lives easier. Clearly, our new website isn’t perceived that way, but we’re confident you’ll change your mind.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion, Laura. I hope you’ll stick around and see just what the new site can do for you.

    – Todd

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