Rosie Revere dreams of being a great engineer. She is incredibly proud after she builds a hat for her Uncle Fred, but after he laughs out loud at her invention, she is dismayed and begins to keep her ideas to herself.
That is, until Aunt Rose comes for a visit. Aunt Rose dreams of flying, which ignites Rosie’s inventing brain. Rosie builds a flying heli-o-cheese-copter that flies for a moment then crashes to the ground.
Rosie is disappointed in herself and breaks down into tears. It reinforces her mindset that she’ll never be a brilliant engineer. But Aunt Rose exclaims, “your brilliant first flop is a raging success,” and her and Rosie begin working to build on Rosie’s failure to work on the next version of her heli-o-cheese-copter.
Perfectionists do not have a good capacity for dealing with failure. As children, we are pushed to succeed, and learn that an A+ is what gives us attention and love. Over time, we learn to withdraw from activities that we believe we will fail at because we think that those we love will be disappointed in us.
It’s important to encourage both children and adult perfectionists to try new things. It’s important to encourage their efforts. There is a difference between “this wasn’t very good” and ” keep trying because you’ll get better.”