Percival Priggs is a perfect child with seemingly perfect parents. Percival and his parents win lots of awards and always try to compete for more. Percival believes his parents won’t love him if he’s not perfect, so he works hard to prepare for all of his competitions. But he gets overwhelmed. There are too many competitions, and he can’t keep up with them all. Eventually, he makes a mistake. He thinks his parents will stop loving him, but instead, his parents show Percival all of their past mistakes and failures. They give him the courage to try to things to find what he loves.
It’s a simple message, but one that many kids never learn. I was an adult before I broke out of this cycle. I avoided doing creative things while growing up. I was scared to fail, only did things that I thought I would be good at, and struggled after college when I no longer had grades as a metric for my self-worth.
Children should discover what they love instead of being told what to love. They need encouragement from parents to learn how to fail to let go of complacency. They must learn to have the courage to act and think outside of the box.
I encourage you to read Julie-Anne’s book to your children, and to have a discussion with them about acceptance and approval. Accept them even if they don’t live up to your high standards. Provide reassurance by telling them you will still love them even if they fail.