Friday, July 15, 2022

On Comparison


I have heard over and over ad nauseaum that it is bad to compare yourself to other people. Bummer! It's the one thing I'm good at. (Somehow the other person is always prettier, smarter, fitter, wiser, kinder, tougher, more talented or gifted, more successful, etc.)
Anyhow...apparently comparing yourself to other people can result in all kinds of discontent and discouragement. We go to some nasty places when we compare, typically either arrogance or despair. (Despair is my forte.)
This afternoon I stood and watched the end-of-the-week ceremony for my granddaughter at her day camp and sure enough, here come the awards. Really, all they had was one award for each group. The Christlikeness Award. (Sigh.)
At first I didn't even know what to do with that. The traits that were mentioned were not necessarily traits that I connect with Christlikeness but traits that are more likely from inborn temperament plus brain wiring. The jumping bean with ADHD doesn't have a chance against the highly compliant "good girl," no matter what the conditions of each one's heart.
That led me to thinking about just how problematic award ceremonies are. I know, I know, everybody rails against "participation trophies" and how we are rewarding mediocrity but seriously, people, not everybody can be the best. Not everybody was created to be the best. And when we build an entire childhood rewarding being the best how the hell are we not supposed to turn into adults who are forever comparing ourselves to each other?
The Bible talks about the "lesser members" being all the more important. We know that our body parts that don't get a lot of fanfare are absolutely essential. And yet we develop the young of our species telling them that only one of them is the best. And only one of them gets the recognition. And only one of them is worthy of being celebrated.
It sucks.
What if instead of measuring each kid against the other we found something beautiful in each kid and encouraged it? One kid might be encouraged for her kindness, another for her generosity. One for his courage, another for his gentleness. Not only will kids no longer be pitted against one another to be the winner but they will perhaps start looking for the beauty in each other.
And maybe when they grow up they won't strut with arrogance or wallow in despair because comparing won't be on the radar. Beauty will be.


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