Comparing Ourselves to Others
There is a far too familiar scene in which two mothers sit on a park bench while their children play. Within ten minutes of small talk, one mother begins to brag about their child. She doesn’t rest until she finds something that her child is better at than the child of the second mother. She compares until her child can one-up the other child, even though the children are out of earshot, playing together happily. Have you been there before?
We live in a society that tries to compare constantly. Other than feelings of anger toward the bragging mother, we also tend to feel guilt. We blame ourselves if our child can’t measure up to his or her peers. I felt terribly guilty when my fifteen month old still couldn’t walk. I blamed myself for not working with him enough. I also felt embarrassed when questioned by the other mothers. It turns out that he needed tubes in his ears to fix his reoccurring ear infections. Two days after the tubes were put in, he began to walk and never looked back. Let go of your guilt! Stop comparing your child to other children!
The Bible tells us that everyone is blessed with different fruits of the Spirit. We are all given different gifts from God. We will not all have a son who will be a star athlete. We won’t all get to watch our daughters dance gracefully across a stage during a recital. Our children may lack in coordination so that sports and ballet are NOT for them. The Bible also says that the church cannot survive without each member. Each member has a different job. Just like our body needs each of its different parts, the Body of Christ needs to value and use each member with their different talents.
When our child is successful, it is easy to feel pride for them and for ourselves. Sometimes we forget that we didn’t actually create that child. We didn’t choose their talents; God did! If our child is not good in a certain area, it is because God created him or her that way.
It can be really difficult to explain all of this to a child who is upset when they are not the best, or even good, at something. Remind them that God creates each person with a unique skillset required to carry out God’s plan for their life. Instead of wishing they had talent lacking in their life, teach them to thank God for creating them exactly as they are.
When we are tempted to compare our children, remember to praise them for their successes, give the credit to God, and enjoy celebrating the successes of others.
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