My blog today is sparked by something Suzie Eller said in her last blog:
I wish I hadn't spent even one moment comparing my child to others, especially when it came to things like a first tooth, or potty training, or any number of "big events". (Whether they walked at 12 months or 10 really doesn't seem like a big deal when they've been walking for 28 years now.)
Flashbacks came rushing in of the times I compared my kids to other children. As I wrap up my series on back-to-school, I thought we would look at this idea. It’s easy to compare our kids to others, especially academically. Whether we public school, home-school or send them to a Christian school, we naturally want our kids to be the top in their class.
I especially compared my middle son, Joshua, since he struggled so much with learning disabilities. It was frustrating to see him work so hard for “average” grades, when some of his classmates made higher ones without trying. I wanted to protect him and encourage him, but found myself defensive for him. Many times I had to repent before the Lord.
God convicted me that comparing my children to others is nothing but unadulterated pride. Pride wants to look good, to be the best, to be the first, or to be number one. I recall struggling when Joshua wasn’t placed in “first chair” in the school band. I felt he had been cheated out of his rightful position. It didn’t help when his classmates (including the kid in the position) said that he was the better performer and deserved the position. I had to confess before God and Joshua my pride and jealousy that wanted to make sure my son was recognized for his skills.
There will always be a child who makes better grades, hits more homeruns, or out performs your child. However, there will also be a kid who doesn’t do quite as well as yours. As Suzie said, when they’ve been walking for nearly 30 years it doesn’t matter when they took their first step. What does matter is that they took that step—swung at that ball, played the instrument, took the test, and did the best they could.
God has knitted each child according to his plan for their lives. He knows just what they need to make their lives complete in Him. During Joshua’s senior year I asked for a final evaluation of his disabilities so he would be eligible for tutoring in college. During the prescreening, the evaluator said he didn’t believe Joshua had the difficulties listed in his records. He didn’t want to test him, but I insisted. Afterwards, the psychologist expressed his amazement that Joshua had done so well in school and even graduating with good grades, because his disabilities were so acute. I choked up when my son boldly expressed his confidence that these struggles were a “gift from God.” Joshua told the man that he couldn’t imagine how prideful he would be without his learning disabilities. He said that his weaknesses helped him depend on the Lord.
So as school starts, don’t worry what the other kids (or other moms) are doing. In the scope of eternity it really doesn’t matter if they sit in first chair or graduate with the highest grades in their class. But it is important that they learn to do all things through Christ who gives them strength (Philippians 4:13).