Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Noticing vs. Comparing

When you have more than one kid, it's really easy to notice differences in their development and personality. For example,

  • Jane's teeth came one at a time, but Steven cut 5 teeth in one day. 
  • Steven can take about 10 steps with his walker at 10 months, but Jane was cruising down the halls at 7 months. 
  • Jane can be shy when she meets new people, but Steven loves to smile at everyone. 
  • Steven will eat anything, but Jane mostly likes candy. 
  • Jane has green eyes and Steven has blue eyes. 

These are differences, but that's it. There is no judgment or comparison attached to them. I never think, "Steven is a better eater, therefore I love him more." or "Jane walked earlier, therefore she is smarter." 

Jane loves playing this game with words or pictures too. She will say, "Mom, see the same and see the difference? They both have blue shoes but he has glasses and he doesn't have glasses." or "See the difference? Park. Parking lot." 

That's the difference. PERIOD. There is no "therefore a park is better than a parking lot" or "therefore the person with glasses is better because glasses are cool." 

Why is it so hard for me to do the same when I notice difference between myself and others? 

I think it is because I have never made the distinction before between noticing and comparing. I guess I didn't realize I could just notice a difference without deciding which was better. And so I've tried to not notice... which is obviously impossible in some cases. 

"Oh, I didn't notice you had bright pink hair" or "I didn't notice that your house is 20,000 square feet and has life size lions on the entrance gate" or "I didn't notice your accent." 

Of course we notice! But, there is nothing wrong with noticing. Differences are fun; it's what makes life exciting! But the danger comes when a comparison is attached to it. 

Depending on my mood, these comparisons can easily swing either way. For example,
"She had all of her kids without an epidural, therefore she is so much tougher than I am and probably has a stronger bond with her babies!"
"She had all of her kids without an epidural, therefore she's crazy. She doesn't appreciate modern medicine and was probably way too tired after labor to even bond with her babies." 

Both of those conclusions are ridiculous and have nothing to do with reality, but when I see things as a comparison, I come out the winner or the loser. I either build my self esteem in an unhealthy way or I destroy my self esteem in an unhealthy way. 

I need to learn from Jane and learn from the way I see my kids. 
  • She only feeds her kids organic food. PERIOD. 
  • They send their kids to private school. PERIOD. 
  • They homeschool their kids. PERIOD. 
  • She doesn't use facebook. PERIOD. 
  • She's tall and thin. PERIOD. 
  • They have twelve children. PERIOD. 
  • She sells cute crafts on the side, is a great cook and volunteers in the community. PERIOD. 
None of these things have anything to do with me, the way I look or the way I do things. I'm trying to do what is right for me and my family and I can just assume everyone else is doing the same without having to prove that my way is right or feel bad that it's not. 

I can notice and appreciate differences without having any "therefore..." statement attached to it. Don't you think that's the way God sees us? He loves us and our differences. PERIOD. 


  1. What a great thought. Nicely point!! Going to try to be more like this!!!

  2. I will definitely be trying harder to do this and teach this way of seeing the world around us! Thanks for the inspiring post!

  3. Very insightful. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks, Lisa!! I always love to read your posts. I wish our kiddos could play together!

  5. My sister in law showed me this blog and I soon recognized the author's last name was the same as my MTC teacher Teixeira Sensei! Small world! I have never met you, but thank you for writing this blog. It has really brightened my day and given me peace as a mother.