“I need to teach Jack the bible stories!” I said to myself as I left a playdate one afternoon. While the kids were playing in the sandbox, I overheard the other children talking about Jonah and the Whale. My friend’s adorable 2 year old daughter told her Mommy that Jonah was in the whale for 3 days, the same as Jesus was in the tomb. I sat there amazed. “Jack doesn’t even know who Jonah is!” I thought to myself.
Days later, while browsing the bargain books at Lifeway, I picked up a copy of a children’s Old Testament storybook. Determined to teach Jack who Jonah was in the bible, I got home only to realize that Jonah’s story wasn’t included in the discounted book. Sigh…
Have you ever had a similar experience? As parents, we want our children to succeed and be the best that they can be. That’s a given. But do our comparisons do more harm than good?
We log online to see pictures and share our own stories, but I would caution those who do so. This is not the place to compare ourselves or our children. Each of us was given a gift. For my friend, that gift is with scripture memorization and teaching her child to do so. For me, I love arts and crafts! I could sit with my child all day long and create new projects. For another friend, she would rather be outside all day without structured workbooks.
Regardless of the groups we fit into, God gifted us with the children we love for a reason. When we become obsessed with comparing our situation to someone else’s, we miss out on the joy of what we’re getting to experience.
So with that said, I encourage you to remember that every child and situation is different. Each kid has a different learning style. My older son loves to draw, imagine and create whereas my youngest loves to climb, roll and run. While one child may excel in reading, the other may be great at athleticism and motor skills. We can only play on their strengths and encourage them in times of weakness. Then they will know the full extent of unconditional love and acceptance so that hopefully when they are older, there won’t be the temptation to compare themselves to others. Let kids be kids. And let’s enjoy them while we can.