Do You Know How Hard It Is To Be Perfect?

Do you know how hard it is to be perfect?

Notice I didn’t say “good.” I didn’t say “above-average.” I said “perfect.” Both of my wonderful parents cared about me, my siblings, and all of our friends. But Do you know how hard it is to be perfect?

It wasn’t always easy to be the child of Ancil L. Cox, Jr. In fact, there were plenty of times when it was damn hard. I spent many a day in my youth trying to gain our father’s approval in one way or another.

If you knew him, then you knew that whether it was in everyday life or in the practice of law, Dad was a perfectionist. Our home endured story after story about his days as the valedictorian of Shaw High School, and how high his grades were in school.

“Daunting” does not even begin to describe what it was like to be his child. I mentioned that Dad reminded us all his academic success at Shaw High and in college. Naturally, anything less than all “A’s” on my own report card led to some comment about me “not trying,” and I was generally then treated to a lecture about how I was not living up to my potential. His nightly newspaper reading would invariably give him the opportunity to point out some other student who was, in his mind, excelling at something or another in the academic field while I was still not applying myself. I swear to you– because of Dad, I knew my friends’ grades better than my own. At the age of 45, I am now ashamed to admit that the result of this behavior was a resentment/competitiveness in me as a kid and as an early adult toward Dad that is hard to describe with words.

It can’t be that bad, you say. Your father loved you. Of course, he did. I never doubted that fact for one second. But that didn’t mean that it couldn’t be difficult to be his son. Continue reading “Do You Know How Hard It Is To Be Perfect?”