While hanging out with some friends I discovered that their little four-year-old boy was extremely skilled in riding a bicycle. I watched him go and turn corners. He was a little pro. My six-year-old isn’t able to ride one yet. I thought to myself, what’s wrong with us? How come this four-year-old could do it and my older kids couldn’t? Sigh. . . . we’re definitely missing something somehow.
A family we know are trilingual and their children can read and write in two languages. We’re barely doing 1.5 languages in our house. I’m still struggling to keep with up Chinese with the kids. Sigh. . . . another downer for us.
Another family has kids who can swim like fish. The kids could really live in the water. My kids? Only one can swim while the others are afraid of the water. Not good.
Other families have their kids in music lessons and kids as young as four or five can perform wonderful music pieces. My kids? I’m barely teaching my oldest (8yo) to play the piano. Hmmm. . . another demerit for our family.
As I thought more about how we’re deficient in many ways in light of other people’s accomplishments, I realize how easily I can adopt the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. As much as I want to stay away from that kind of thinking, it’s so easy to compare myself to others. Every family has their own strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has their own priorities and things that they value. Naturally, everyone’s family and values look different. So, why should one family imitate another? We all have different emphasis and ours looks different from the next person. Should it follow that we need to keep up with others in a similar stage of life?
The next time I’m tempted to compare myself or my family to others, I will instead reevaluate our goals as it pertains to our own family. Most importantly, I need to have an eternal perspective. Even though my goals or aspirations may not look the same as my friends’, what really matters is: do my goals seek to glorify God? Am I instilling a love for God in my children? And am I persevering to bestow upon my children the most important gift of all: the gospel?