Encouragement for Homeschooling Mothers ~ Comparison

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Coming soon...

Comparison is a natural human reaction. For good or for bad we all compare our lives to that of others.  Sometimes comparing is a good thing when it pushes us to achieve beyond what we would otherwise. We may try a new skill because we've seen someone else use. We may get a new appliance because we've seen how useful it is for others.  
 Comparison however can also be dangerous because there is a fine line between admiring someone or something & coverting that thing or their life.  As women it is so very easy to compare yourself, your family & your household with others.  Sometimes you may look good in comparison to them but there will inevitably be the times when you just don't.  

There is also another type of comparison that particularly effects homeschooling families.  It can destroy children & families & cause strained relationships for life.  We must be so careful in this area.  This is comparison of siblings.
From these....

My Journey:
Other than the normal twinges of occasionally thinking " that would be nice" or "I'd like to have that part of her life" I really don't struggle too much with that type of comparison.  However when God sent us 4 beautiful children He decided to make every single one of them totally unique.  There are some who are studious, hard workers & diligent students.  There are others who are highly distracted, struggle at some aspects of their work or are just plain lazy at times.  It is so very easy to compare them when it comes to their education & see only the good points in the academically minded children & only the struggling points of the others.  Having identical twins makes it even more difficult because their differences are glaringly obvious.   I am rather academically minded myself, so it's easy to get annoyed at those children who are less so & wish they were more like the others. 
....to these

Things I've found Helpful:

1. Encouragement goes a long way
It is so easy to dwell on the areas our children struggle with (especially if it is a strength in a particular sibling) & constantly be trying to help 'fix' them.  As a parent this is our job after all.  However we need to make sure that we  also encourage, encourage, encourage our children.  Generally they are more than aware of their failings.  Often our pointing them out is terribly discouraging to that precious child.  If we find ourselves focusing too much on that negative area we need to step back, reassess & make sure we find some things to encourage that child on as well.  Let's try to encourage at least twice for each time we point out a  problem area. 

2.  Enjoy each child's uniqueness!
God designed each person to be different (yes, even identical twins).  I used to play a game in school that I would try to find something lovely about everyone I passed in the playground ~ sometimes it was eye colour or hair, sometimes it was their finger shape.  Celebrate your child's unique loveliness & abilities.  Everyone has something that they are good at.  Make sure you notice what it is your child excels in!  It may be talking to people, it may be climbing trees, it may be building 'creations' or it may be maths.  Love them for it, enjoy it with them & encourage them to build that skill even further!

3. Be thankful for what you have
It's so easy to look at other people's blessings, but do we focus on our own?  When we are busy counting our own blessings, the focus is on what we have been given instead of what others have.  Nothing we have done can make us deserve what we have been blessed with, so we need to be thankful for each & every one of them.    Sure we mightn't have the 'perfect' home/ car/ figure/ hair/ clothes that the world tells us we need, but isn't it more important to have what God would have us have instead of some stranger who writes a magazine? Let's be thankful for where God has placed us in life right now!

4. Celebrate achievements!
It's so much fun to celebrate things & I love to celebrate each & every little, tiny achievement with my kiddos!  This also encourages the children to strive for their best.  It may not be that the child is where their studious older brother was at, but if they are moving forward & learning & achieving then it's cause for a celebration.  In Little Athletics the athlete gets points for making a new personal best, not for winning the race.  Have this same perspective in your homeschooling.  Celebrate when your struggling reader finishes book 5 even if the older sibling was on book 20 by that point. Celebrate when they have finally got a maths concept!  These celebrations will not only make your homeschooling more fun, but it will be the things that they remember in years to come!

This plate & cup always make me smile :)

Dear Mother, 
God made you exactly the way you the way you are for a reason.  I don't know what issues you have or what good points you have, but I do know that you & every member of your family were uniquely designed by God.  It is no accident that you are living right now, it is no co-incidence that you are where you are, surrounded by the family you have.  God has a wonderful  plan for you all & He cares about the little details of your lives. Comparing between family members or dwelling on other people, their lives or what they have can be dangerous. Cultivating contentment will lead to a richer, more loving life!

With many blessings friends

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