I have a terrible vice that I think I am just now starting to overcome. It is a vice that does nothing but disappoint me and hurts my relationship with my husband and kids. It is the terrible sin of comparing them to other people.
For YEARS I have found myself or other people saying things like….. (I’m using Duggar names just to amuse myself:))
“Why can’t you be as nice to your sisters as Jim Bob….”
“Can you be humble like Josh?”
“Jana braids her sister’s hair and plays games with her. Can you?”
“John David plays and laughs with his wife, see?” hint-hint
“If Jill can keep a clean house, why can’t you?”
“Joseph gets all of his homework done on time. Why can’t you?”
“Josiah can make friends with anybody. Why do you have to be a snob?”
“James always hugs and kisses his mom. It makes me jealous that you won’t do the same to me.”
“Jason can fix everything. My husband can’t do anything.”
I could go on FOREVER.
I am the example in this house and when you have a lot of kids, the vices I spread to them are so much more obvious. I have been putting children, teens, moms, wives, fathers, husbands on pedestals for years. I have metaphorically pointed at them and said,
“Why can’t you be more like him/her?”
There are two life experiences that really made the light bulb flash before my eyes and made me start changing how I speak and look at my family.
#1 I was watching the young men and women slowly lose their faith and fall off the pedestal I had put them on. This is just heartbreaking for me. I have a serious and deep love for teenagers and as I sit back and watch or hear about them turning their back on their faith and family, I get sad and then angry with myself when I look at how I had belittled my own children into being like them.
It turns out that all of these young people were not super-human after all. They are regular wonderful but sinful people just like my own children who may only be misguided for a short time. How long was I “misguided” as a young adult? Eeek. I don’t even want to go there!! Thank God for forgiveness and mercy!!
#2 I remember listening to one wife talk about how wonderful my husband was with fixing and building things. I knew where she was going with this since she was angry in her tone. This women had a husband who plays with his kids every night, walks with one child at a time to have man to man talks, and prays the rosary with them. He is the holiest and most humble man I know.
If she was able to miss all of these qualities she had under her own roof and just covet mine, I had to ask myself if I was doing the very same thing to my husband. Was I seeing the good in every other man and ignoring the gifts I had in Roy?
Uh, yeah…..I was.
Turning off the comparisons and looking at the gifts each member of my family has, has taken a weight off my shoulders that I didn’t even realize was there.
Yes, I am still tempted with jealousy when I see a teenager loving on their mom more than mine does BUT NOW, instead of complaining, I show more affection in the hopes it will be reciprocated equally one day. In the meantime, I will enjoy the gifts, characters and relationships that I DO have.