Process is more important than the results

by Mary Ann on December 7, 2010

Perfect pies are a learned skill!

Recently I taught a class on pie making to a group of adults. One mother brought her 11 year old daughter and they worked together.

When I teach someone how to make pie I know for sure that their pie won’t look like mine. I have been making pies for fifty years and when I roll out a pie crust it is round and beautiful. When I put it into the pie pan it is as smooth as butter, most of the time; no cracking, no tearing. When I crimp the edges they look so taste tempting. It is all because I have had so much practice.

The people that I teach to make a pie for the first time, no matter their age, have had very little to no practice. Rolling a pie crust out so that it is round is a skill that has to be learned. Picking up a pie crust and fitting it into the pan without tears and cracks is a skill that has to be learned. It is a skill to make the crust just right, not to dry and not to wet.

Now I have taught many people to make pie and so I know how it is going to go and I want to avoid as much frustration as possible. I want my new pie makers to go home feeling like they just accomplished something magnificent, that they have made the pie of the century and that their families are going to be so happy about it.

So I tell them “You are just learning this new skill. It is like riding a bike, it won’t be perfect right off the bat. Your crust might not fit the pan perfectly, it might even crack. Just piece it back together. You are making this pie because you love your family and they are going to be so blessed to have it. You aren’t entering a contest. Remember that it is going to taste wonderful and how it tastes is what is going to count not how it looks.”

Well, all my pie makers got to work, including the mother daughter team. The pies were turning out just as you would expect  beginner’s pies to look. Everyone had taken my counsel and was feeling really successful except Rosemary, the older half of the mother daughter team. She wanted it to be perfect, she wanted to be able to do it better on the first try,  how a thing turns out is what matters the most.


She was fretting and stewing because their dough was a tad dry and it was breaking into pieces as they were putting it into the pan. Her daughter was just busy piecing away. But Rosemary kept fretting over the fact that it hadn’t been very round, the dough was dry, it broke into a couple of pieces and had to be pressed back together. Finally Ariel looked at her mom and said “Remember mom, it’s how it tastes that counts.” Her mother looked at her for a bit and then replied, “Oh yes, thanks for reminding me.”

Teaching adults can be difficult. They worry about not knowing the material already or not having the skill. They are embarrassed that their results don’t look like yours. They worry.

Teaching children is a joy. It always amazes me that my pie looks perfect and theirs is crumbling on the side and they don’t see the difference. They look at the pies and say, “Wow, look at my pie.” They are proud and excited about what they have done.

I was reminded by this experience why children are so wonderful to work with.

1. They love learning new things.

2. They aren’t intimidated that don’t already know how to do something. They are just excited to learn.

3. The process is more important than the outcome and

4. They are so easy to please.

So stay out of your children’s way. Let them learn and take pride in whatever they do. Don’t see their end result through your eyes. See it through theirs. The process is what counts for kids. Aren’t kids amazing!!!!

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