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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

Be a Perfect Person in 3 Days

I thought it a bit odd when I was joined at flag salute by two boys wearing broccoli around their necks.

One of our 2nd grade classes is reading the book, Be A Perfect Person in Just Three Days, a cute little chapter book coined in 1982 by author Stephen Manes. I simply had to borrow it over the weekend to see if there was any feasible way I could be "more perfect" by the end of the weekend.

The book is about a boy about the age of 10 named Milo. Finding an aptly named book at the library, he realizes his life at home would be much better if he was perfect. No more breaking things. No more getting into trouble for doing things incorrectly. Each day he needs to do one new thing to perfect his skills in....well...perfection.

Day One - wear broccoli around his neck the entire day at school. Day Two - eat nothing for 24 hours. Day Three - do nothing for 24 hours. This is probably most challenging as it is about doing absolutely nothing - no eating, no reading, no tv, no playing, no sleeping. Nothing!

And while I can't say I'll be any more perfect from reading the book (and no, I didn't do days one, two or three), the lessons taught in the book are really where the learning comes in for Milo and for adults everywhere.

First of all, if you can wear broccoli around your neck and tolerate the taunting all day from siblings, classmates, and strangers, you have the fortitude to stand up to others, regardless of their perspectives. This is an important learning for us all. Others will be mean - our task is to let it go. Just let it go. Their issues aren't our issues.

The second lesson? Not eating for an entire day builds mental strength and stick-to-it-ness....and we can all use a little more of that. Setting goals often means personal sacrifices and challenges to overcome in the process.

Finally, the third lesson to do absolutely nothing teaches us this - it is impossible to do nothing, including staying awake doing nothing, for 24 hours. Ultimately, each of us would fall asleep (because you can't rely on your friendly cup of java). And then we would fail. And the lesson to be learned is...failure isn't a bad thing. It is a step in the learning process.

Ultimately, the book asks the million dollar question - why would you want to be perfect anyway? Always doing things right isn't much fun, doesn't result in much learning, and means we'd miss out on a lot of wonderful relationships from folks who probably wouldn't want a "perfect" friend.

Fun read. Great lessons. Worth the smiles it provides.


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