The Crisis that Started it All For Me:
Insecurity and Comparison Invaded My Home
Over ten years ago, when my daughters Rachel (age 6) and Kaitlyn (age 5) were in a competition together, I got my first ‘scary’ dose of “I have no idea how to handle this situation!”
I had spent countless of hours teaching and coaching my girls the questions and answers to a Junior Bible Quiz competition. They had studied very hard and learned over 200 questions, answers and verses and were ready for their first quiz meet.
What happened that day has been forever etched into my mind. Rachel, very competitive and intense, ‘quizzed out’ of every match and ended up the top scorer of the entire tournament in her category.
In stark contrast, Kaitlyn did not answer one question. She had a grand total of 0 points compared to her sister with well over 300 points. I brought home a little girl that was celebrating and a little girl that was devastated, and I didn’t know what to do.
After taking some time to think things through, I came to the realization - that this was the day I was going to empower my girls NOT to decide their worth or value was based on their achievements or accomplishments.
We sat down together and talked very deliberately with the girls and started explaining our opinion of both of them. We shared with them the amazing revelation that each child is born with different giftings and talents. Rachel did not get to choose what her gifts and talents were and neither did Kait get to choose what her gifts and talents were.
Rachel had a tenacity about her and a determination she was going to win. Kait was born with a love of life and ‘all things fun’ and winning wasn’t even high on her list.
However, on the way home from the JBQ meet, doubt began to creep into Kaitlyn’s heart, like maybe she wasn’t as good as her sister. Comparison began to work its way into our family that day. And we faced it head on.
We talked all the way through what it felt like to be Rachel, winning match after match and how exciting it was. We then talked through what it felt like to be Kaitlyn, NOT winning match after match, or even scoring for that matter.
Each girl was able to feel what the other was feeling. We discussed what it would be like if the girls were in each other’s positions. We empowered them with empathy. We then discussed some of Kait’s amazing abilities to act and create and Rachel’s lack of innate creativity. We reminded the girls that every single person was unique. No one got todecide what their strengths and giftings were as well as their age, hair and eye color, etc.
We asked, “Which one of them, Rachel or Kaitlyn, was the most important?” The obvious answer, they were equally important. That day, we talked about the amazing differences between the girls and decided since neither of them was in charge of how they were created, they were going to make the decision not to think more highly of themselves than others.
We all decided it was foolish to compare with one another when we all have different gifts and talents that are inborn and natural.
We then chose to celebrate Rachel in her great accomplishment that day. We should rejoice with those who are rejoicing!
Not too soon after, Kaitlyn at age seven, had an amazing five minute dialogue in a play that ‘stole the show’ while Rachel had a secondary part that was minimal. We had been practicing celebrating each other’s gifts and talents and were able to wholeheartedly celebrate Kait that night without Rachel feeling inferior.
Allowing children to honestly look at their giftings, talents and personality, and helping them to acknowledge their strengths and their weaknesses, is a gift to them. It allows them the freedom to ‘not have to compare’ and to be happy with themselves while celebrating others’ successes.
We have continued this line of empowering for the past decade and it has shaped our family tremendously! Empowering a child to believe they are a unique masterpiece, created with special giftings and talents allows them the privilege of enjoying themselves. In stark contrast, others, sadly, get trapped in a world of comparison, often at a very young age.
We have found that the foundation of truth that we have based our thinking on has helped tremendously as my older girls have worked through the ‘drama’ of the middle school years.
There will always be opportunities for people of all ages to feel insecure. The world is constantly portraying ideals of real success. However, the truth is that each individual’s worth and value is not associated with what they can accomplish in life, but who they are.
Thankfully, I have had the opportunity to teach my children this concept. The unexpected blessing I gained is that as I taught them this valuable truth, I began to believe it myself.
I found that in order to authentically convey the truth of this message to my girls, I needed to believe it myself. I, too, have become ‘more free’ from the cycle of insecure thinking as well. You are never too old to learn healthier ways of thinking!
Obviously this is a story from within my own family. But this is also a story of every 5 and 6 yr. old, every 10 and 11 yr. old, every 14 and 15 yr. old, every adult in a relationship.
Teaching a child the ability to identify their strengths and not to 'live a life of comparison' will unleash untold, limitless potential within themselves. They will strive to new heights and change the atmosphere around them! And you might just begin to believe it too!