It’s no secret: I love children’s literature and frequently call upon storybooks when I want to teach my kids a lesson. There’s something about viewing the characters as they learn a lesson through good prose or art that can illustrate a teaching much better than I can. (Plus, is it just me, or do kids tend to tune out the lesson when it’s coming from mom?)
Last week we read Dr. Seuss’ classic “The Sneetches.”
In case you aren’t familiar, some of the “Sneetches” have stars on their bellies, while others do not. The stars become a mark of discrimination as the star-bellied Sneetches look down on the plain-bellied Sneetches. Then one day Sylvester McMonkey McBean comes to town with a machine which is able to add or remove stars. The plain-bellied Sneetches jump at the chance to mark themselves with a star, while the star-bellied Sneetches consider having their stars removed. Eventually everyone is running in to have their stars removed or replaced, and they become so mixed up on who is who that they are forced take a good look at themselves and their differences.
As the book was shared, Jared and I talked with the kids about how they would feel if others were making fun of them for looking different, etc. It was a good beginning lesson on discrimination and treating others fairly, and they came away with the simple message we hoped to share.
But now, here we are, a week later, and I still have “The Sneetches” on my mind. This time though, it’s a lesson is for me. . . .
I really like blogs. Every morning I look forward to checking my Google Reader and catching up with my favorite creative, witty, beautiful, talented, supermom heros. But besides reading blogs, I really like writing for my own blog. It’s exhilarating to share a project, recipe, thought, or story. Blogging gives me the creative outlet I crave and helps me think more inventively and intentionally about my everyday with my kids.
But there is a danger in blogs–reading and writing. Embarrassingly, there are times throughout the day I find myself absorbed in thoughts like, “I wonder how so-and-so would have handled that tantrum just now?” Or “how would so-and-so repurpose this piece of junk?” Or “I wonder what so-and-so is having for dinner?” It can be so easy to step back from the computer and into the reality of my own imperfect life and compare myself, and think–I’m not as creative, beautiful, witty, organized, talented, etc. as that
star-bellied Sneetch favorite blogger.
It’s easy to become insecure when I see the “star” someone else has–which I lack. And I often think I will never measure up.
There have been way too many times when I’ve thought, well, if I just had this new camera, computer program, craft supply, happier childhood, clothing budget, slimmer body, etc., THEN things will be better. And just about everywhere I look, there is a Sylvester McMonkey McBean ready to take my money and offer me a quick-fix.
But in the end, the quick-fix doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make me happier or more successful. It even leaves me confused about who I am because I have not remained true to myself.
The most important thing–just as the Sneetches discovered–is that I need to be ME. I am a daughter of God. The gifts and talents He gave me ARE good enough and it’s how HE views me–not how I compare to others–that really matters.