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Do you compare your children to each other? Here’s how to get rid of that habit

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Edifa - published on 11/23/20

Contemplating the diversity of the lives of the saints can help you appreciate each child's uniqueness.

When we look at the saints, we are struck by their immense variety; no two are alike. This shows us that God’s grace does not squelch human nature, but rather brings it to fruition. Each color of an infinite palette seems to emit its own unique light. This notion is very valuable for raising our children. Holiness does not engender clones, and the way that parents look at their children will be enriched by seeing them through the eyes of God. This perspective will keep us from falling into the misdirected hope that one child will resemble another, or resemble us.

Learning to look at others with the eyes of God

Welcoming life is not only about giving life; it is also about fully consenting to the unique grace of each child and even actively seeking it out. From the innate freedom of parents comes the freedom of their children. And the sign of this inner freedom is the joy each one of us feels in seeing others bear their own unique fruit.

We can let the child, but even more so the adolescent, know that we perceive what is unique about them and that we love what makes them unique. And we can do this without comparing them to their sisters and brothers in terms of “it’s better than …” or “it’s worse than …” This will plant the seed of confidence in the child to trace his or her own path. But to keep this from turning into a formulaic exercise, we need to learn to see our children with the eyes of God, to patiently await the manifestation of their unique holiness. The more we desire this, the less we will impose standards of comparison upon them.

Abbot Vincent de Mello

Read more:
8 Lessons from Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin on raising kids

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