Disclaimer: The following post may just be my way of subconsciously reconciling the fact that I can't recall anything anymore, especially concerning my kids.
I spend quite a bit of time with young families. It's a huge aspect of my job, and I am one (ok, so I'm not so very young to many people anymore, but I do have young children), and a lot of people within my circle can call themselves a member of this demographic as well. I'm surrounded.
I love this season of life and I love witnessing others living/struggling through the same things that I'm going through. (yeah, potty training and all the other glorious duties that go along with raising preKs.) But here recently, it seems that I have overheard a few too many different conversations involving a theme that always make me a little nervous, but before I start into this one-sided blog monologue I want to assure any of my readers out there that I'm not talking about anybody specifically that I know in real life - thus I will again stress the phrase "overheard conversations." (Yes, I'm snoopy - lets just call it a studier of humanity - ok, snoopy is fine.) And also there are certainly times in my life that this blog post could be directed at me, cuz I make mistakes too!
Here's the problem; we're not letting our kids just be kids. Now, I know that this topic could cover soooo many different subcategories, but the one I seem to be witnessing a lot of young moms doing here lately is the dangerously slippery slope known as sibling comparison.
It's really a natural thing to do and there are times that it can be rather harmless. Oh look, Jr. started crawling so much earlier than Wilbur. But the harmless can quickly grow into the questionable. I don't remember Ethel giving us such a hard time at bedtime like her sister does. To the downright wrong. Judy is so much more demanding and high maintenance than her older sister, I really hate dealing with it! I wish she was more like her sister. We've all done it. This is where my disclaimer comes in, for the most part all of my kids developmental stuff is just a huge blur in my head. I can't remember who did what when, and I kinda like it that way. But I can sure fall into the temptation to compare my kids' abilities, personalities and temperaments. (and you don't have to have more than one kid to fall into this trap - comparing reaches far beyond familial lines)
To a point it's good to get a handle on how our kids are different from each other. As their parent, this will give us valuable insight into how to connect with them, the best ways to train and discipline them, and to know how to encourage them into activities in which they are gifted. The danger is when we esteem one over the other or we too often verbalize our laments for them to be in some way different.
Can we not just be thankful for what we are given? I firmly believe that families are not built out of chance. There is a Designer to this world and He not only knits us together in our mother's womb, even knowing us before the event took place, (Psalm 139:14, Jeremiah 1:5 - and these verses apply not only to "us" but also to our children) but I also think that He planned our families (Acts 17:26-28).
Each individual has their own set of personality and talents - they have God's fingerprints all over them and to compare two different handiworks of God is like comparing one flower to another, or comparing the ocean to the mountains - they each have their own beauty and purpose! Yes when you go to the beach you have to deal with the never ending grains of sand in every crack and crevice, but there is still no denying the sheer awesomeness of it.
Every child will bring challenges, every child will bring joy, every child should be raised and brought up according to their created "bend." If it's a difficult journey... to be blunt... let's all just suck it up and deal with it, trying to figure out what is at the heart of the matter. Because if we think we are ultimately going to change what God has programmed then we are in for downright rebellion and broken relationships. And let's face it. God puts up with us all. the. time.
There needs to be so much room for grace in parenting. Let's extend grace to each other and to our children. Let us have words of encouragement for our kiddos, not words that will scar and hurt them that will leave them feeling like they don't measure up. God is the one that gives us value - so lets treat everyone as valuable, ok?