I am a critical person. I am terrible about setting high expectations even for learning new skills. When my youngest daughter Bella was learning to walk she was stubborn about it. I finally got fed up with her about it and made her do it.

My wife, Abbie, didn’t like how I had gone about it. I wasn’t mad at Bella, she just wasn’t trying as hard as I felt she should have.

This is a major obstacle for me. I don’t know what causes it, but I’m working on it. I try to accept that everyone learns at their own speed. There is no harm in that. I just have a hard time accepting it.

I am harder on myself than I am on anyone else. I give myself very little room for error in learning new skills. So teaching is not a strong suit for me and it is infuriating.

I am teaching my son, Ricky, to use hand tools. I cut out the patterns we are going to work with, and I let him nail or screw it together.

He does good work, but the perfectionist in me has a hard time seeing past the mistakes. He is learning it fast enough. He has a good eye, and he can follow directions like a champ.

Unfortuantely, a little mistake stresses me out. This gets him stressed out. He is a lot like me, so when he makes a mistake he takes it hard anyway. My getting upset doesn’t help. It’s ugly.

I have started pushing myself harder to see his successes over his shortcomings. This is especially challenging for someone with OCD who has to have things just right.

Our recent project together is a little birdhouse we started on. It’s coming along nicely, especially for working with a 5 year old. I will admit that I am a nervous wreck about the painting process.

He has a ways to go, but so do I. It will certainly be a learning process for both of us. I am learning to let things be as they are, he is learning how to properly use hand tools. It’s one little step and one little project at a time. I now understand my dad’s frustration.


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