Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dare to NOT Compare

Everything in this world is telling us that our children are supposed to meet a certain standard by a certain time.  From birth, we are told that our kids should be holding up their heads by three months and they should be crawling by 8 months.  I learned with my first son that even these basic developmental milestones did not hold true.  He could hold his head up right away but he didn't even move independendently until he was thirteen months old.  Was this because I didn't work with him? No.  Was this because something was wrong with him?  Absolutely not.  And yet this week I found myself comparing my sons to other children and worrying that I may not be doing enough.  Let me explain.

My oldest (4 1/2) can't write his letters without some significant help from me.  He gets frustrated with himself quickly and he gets upset that he can't execute them perfectly.  We do a little handwriting during the week taking one letter at a time but he's just not very interested.  I had accepted this as normal and then I started seeing other children his age.  They are writing notes.  They are easily writing out words you spell to them.  They write their names without their little brows knitted and their fingers cramped uncomfortably around the pencil.  So I started to worry.

I worried that we haven't practiced enough.  I worried that I should find new ways to deliver the teaching so that he doesn't feel so frustrated with himself.  I worried that I wasn't giving it enough importance.  I wish the female mind did not do this, but I swear it is built into our brains - "Always ask what more you can do!" it tells us.  And, unfortunately, we sometimes listen.

I read my Daily Guidepost this morning (a daily devotional I highly recommend) and it told a story of a woman who made it a point to always celebrate other's accomplishments.  Easy, right?  But here's the catch:  They emphasized celebrating accomplishments that somehow compete with your desires.  In other words, use celebration in the place of jealousy.  It resonated so deeply within me.  I had felt jealous of these other children and their parents; I had felt that they had somehow made better decisions and done more for their children than I had.  But I shouldn't compare.  My children are exceptional in so many ways.  I need to celebrate their uniqueness along with every other child's uniqueness.  Comparison is a waste of time.  We are all so different.  So let's celebrate instead.

How do you stop yourself from comparing your children to others?

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