Celebrate More, Compare Less
We have an epidemic in our family right now. Let’s call it the I Want What They Got Syndrome. We see it in the tears and the complaints when one of our children is given an opportunity to spend time with friends or to receive a special gift and the others do not receive the same opportunity/gift.
As we sat at breakfast this morning, I began to compliment my boys for their good attitude when their sister was invited to sleep over at a friend’s house last night. And then I discovered that I had completely missed the complaints and the protests made, the why can’t I stay over too? and the why does SHE get to go and I don’t?
Now, my kids genuinely love each other. They laugh with one another, play together, share toys, create and imagine together. But there is something in them that struggles when they want something and someone else gets it.
As my husband and I have been working with our kids to truly celebrate the opportunities their siblings receive, I have been struck by how common this epidemic is, not just for kids, but for adults as well.
Adults seem to handle the affliction a little better. At least on the surface. We generally don’t see tantrums or yelling from adults. But the jealousy is just as real. It might play out in different ways- perhaps in “unfriending” someone on facebook, not inviting that person to your girls night out, muttering about that person behind their back, slander, gossip, anger. It might not be as obvious as the immature response of my children, but it is just as ugly. And it lasts a lot longer!
A few weeks ago, Ethan was invited to a friend’s house for a playdate. After he left, I found a sad Lindsay in her room, trying to hold it together. We sat on her bed and had a good talk. She shared that she felt like Ethan had friends who would invite him over, but she didn’t have anyone. I could tell that she wanted to be happy for Ethan, but she was struggling with feeling like she wasn’t wanted.
I knew that this was an opportunity for her to learn an important lesson. In every situation, we are given a choice of how we will respond. In this case, Lindsay could choose to be sad because she didn’t get what Ethan did. Or she could choose to be happy for Ethan and trust that opportunities would come for her in God’s timing.
We prayed and she made the decision to be happy for her brother.
In the weeks since our conversation, Lindsay has been invited to 4 different friend’s houses and multiple sleep overs. Each time we smile together and thank God for his goodness.
Lindsay is learning the valuable lesson of the blessings to be had when we celebrate more and compare less.
And I am learning right by her side. I want this to be a characteristic of my life. I want my choices to lean towards celebrating and not comparing. I want to rejoice when others receive the very things that I want.
Because that decision is one that results in joy rather than misery. No matter how great my life is, there will always be others who have something I want that I didn’t get. And so, if I can choose to celebrate others knowing that God’s timing and his plan is perfect, my eyes will be open to the abundant blessings that God has given to me. Right now.
In 2014, our family will be working hard to celebrate more and compare less. I can’t wait to see how God will use this in my children’s hearts. And I look forward to what He will do in mine.
How about you? Have you come up with a goal for your family in 2014?
Please share! And if you would like to join us, we would love that!