WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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perfect

Once there was a boy who lived near the sea.  He dreamed of building the most perfect sandcastle a boy could build.  Everyday after finishing his chores and lessons, the boy raced to the beach to work. 

Just before sunset his mother would arrive to take him home for supper.  She always asked, “Did you learn anything today?”  “Yes! I learned lots about building the perfect castle.” As they walked home he explained the tides’ schedules and how they determined his castle’s footprint.  He told her about the best tools for details.  He described plans for tomorrow’s improvements.  “Hmm,” his mother responded.

His castles became more complex, but not perfect.  The windows on Sunday’s castle were not as striking on Tuesday’s castle with its clever drawbridge.  The turrets on Thursday’s castle seemed too delicate on the strong walls of Friday’s.

The boy began answering his mother’s question before she asked it.  “I did not learn anything new today.”  “Hmm,” she responded.  Still, the boy went to the beach each afternoon and worked the sand into grander, more complicated forms.

One evening the boy’s mother arrived and he was not building.  Instead, he sat beside his castle looking at the sea.  His mother studied the castle.  Its arched windows mimicked earlier designs, but the turrets were different.  The walls were not smoothed and the watchtower was a bit small.  It was lovely.

The boy’s mother said, “You have learned something today.” He smiled, looking content and comfortable.   “Yes.  Perfection is in the imperfect.  All the strength and beauty I need are in good enough.”  “Ahh,” his mother responded.

Whitney Cain