Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dare to Not Compare

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a blog entry - Accepting Defeat or Rethinking Perceptions? - about my feelings toward the seemingly slow progress that my youngest son makes. Actually, it's not seemingly slow, it is slow but it's progress nonetheless. Even with the progress, I still catch myself comparing him to other 9-year-olds. I still visit Fantasyland and imagine what he would be like if he were a typical boy.

But he's not a typical boy. First, he is legally blind and must use a cane. That's the most obvious thing that sets him apart from others. Next, he doesn't talk. He uses an iPod Touch with the SoundingBoard app to help him communicate. Because he is blind, he uses the Blue2 Bluetooth Switch to enable him to listen to the choices and then make a selection. Third, he is cognitively delayed so learning takes a bit longer. He is learning to help out around the house. Is this cool progress? YES!! Is it slow and cumbersome? Yes. Do I wish it wasn't so? Yes.

Comparing ourselves to others is a hopeless and futile exercise that generally leaves us feeling frustrated and inadequate. Yet, many of us do it anyway. Even worse, sometimes parents compare their kids to other kids. I am slowly coming to the conclusion that if comparing ourselves or our kids to others isn't a sin, then maybe it should be. Now that I think about it, maybe it is. Maybe we draw comparisons out of our envy or covetousness. Oooh, that's a good word - one that we don't hear too often anymore. Whatever the reason, it's counterproductive.

I can fret and wring my hands every single day over the fact that my youngest son can't do a whole list of things that most 9-year-olds can do; but at the end of each day, where does that leave me? Where does that leave him? By doing so, I miss the opportunity to enjoy the uniqueness of this little boy. Having a special needs child has really made me appreciate and look for the uniqueness of each person. Many of us are on a similar path: we reach our developmental milestones, go to school, go to college, get a job, etc. His path won't look like that. He didn't walk until he was 3. Some developmental milestones were never reached. And yet everything that he has accomplished has been nothing short of a miracle because it was never supposed to happen. Watching him everyday, I get to see the ordinary as extraordinary. What can I compare with that?

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message)


  1. I'd "like" this, but there is no function for that. ;) Great insight!


  2. This is well said and goes straight to my heart. Thank you!

  3. Thanks, Gloria and Janet for your kind comments.

  4. Wow! Thank you for being so transparent with what you are thinking, because it is a great lesson for all of us.



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