Why do we compare ourselves to others? My kids are already doing that. Is it because they hear me say things like: “Your sister finished her dinner and you didn’t”, “Your cousin doesn’t hit anyone”, “You are bigger than he is”… and the list goes on.
Am I planting the seeds in their little brains, suggesting that you have to compare yourself to someone in order to find your worth? That is not at all what I want to teach my 6 year-old daughter, 3 year-old and 7 week-old sons.
What do I want to teach them?
I tucked my daughter in the other night, and she looked into my eyes with an angelic smile. She tends to soften and connect with me most as she lies in bed. She opens up, asks questions about life, and hugs me so tight that I feel my sole purpose is to melt into that embrace.
I looked back at her and told her that I would always love her, no matter what. That she could always come to me to talk and share and ask questions about anything. And she started to cry. I was confused. Unsure of what I’d said. Wondered if she needed to tell me something. But she wouldn’t talk now. She closed up and just cried. I held her. Told her it was ok. We hugged for a while and, puzzled, I kissed her goodnight.
After a few minutes she came into my bedroom. More hugs. I asked her to forgive me if I said something that upset her. And then she told me: “I don’t want you to come to my room and tell me those things because it makes me sad.”
What? How can it make her sad to hear I love her and that we can always talk?
I am so proud of her for expressing to me what she needed. We’ve come a long way to get to this point of articulating our emotions.
I realized that I was telling her what I wanted to hear as a little girl. I assumed that’s what she wanted to hear too.
It’s so tricky. Most days I don’t understand anything inside my children’s little heads.
But I know I can’t compare them to me or my husband or their cousins or their friends. Or I will perpetuate the “I’m better than you” society in which we live.
I want to teach them they are enough. That they make a difference. That they matter. That they are God’s children, not just mine. That they are here for a reason, that they adventurously can discover what that reason is and dedicate their lives to doing it. That they were made out of love and, more than anything, they have love to give to the world.