There’s a strange phenomena that happens when people talk about families, or rather, family size. Many times through the years women have commented to me that they “only” have ______ children; or that they have a small family or whatever. I am quick to diffuse the comments or quick to turn the conversation to matters at hand. We might’ve been talking about laundry or mealtime or whatever, and the conversation turns to amount of laundry or size of pots and pans, etc., etc. I quick attempt to thwart quantifying the value or size of the job based on number of children bcz, so often, women with fewer (than?) children discount their work when they’re talking with a mother with (___?) more children. I hate for women to feel less or think less of themselves bcz they have fewer children than I do.
I think God, for whatever reason, may give “more” children to one family than He does another, or He exaggerates some families or some situations for His purposes. Believe me, for the life of me I do not know why — but I know He does. Just like He exaggerates health or wealth or knowledge or whatever in some families/individuals more than others. And just like there will always be someone in your life that has more money, brains, athletic ability, talent, possessions, square-footage (house size) and/or education, friends, or beauty than you, there will always be someone with more children than you (or me). But we must guard against “comparativitis.” Comparativitis is such a dangerous thing… it’s close kin to covetousness and closer kin to discontent — two biggies that will destroy you (and me).
So this morning I got to thinking about this… yep, spurred on be the browsing the news and seeing the latest addition to the Dugger family. Instantly, comparativitis washed over me. I thought (for a moment) that I had a lot of laundry to do and the dishwasher still needed to be unloaded and the floor’s a mess and there are a few stacks of stuff on the stairs to be carried up and I was giving some heart to heart directions to a few boys who needed to be sure and carry down their laundry *every* day so that I won’t have such an
odiferous intoxicating aromatic experience at the laundry area. As I read the latest news, I thought… what in the world have I got to fret about. I do not have s-e-v-e-n-t-e-e-n children under n-i-n-e-t-e-e-n years old. It’s always sensational to read their stories, to see the beautiful family and consider how it all works out. Around here, we’re wowed by 4 under 4 or 6 under 7 or whatever. And then we compare. We might be tempted to compare our situation with Michelle Dugger’s… we might instantly think: well, if I had that house, or if my husband made X number of dollars a month or if I physically could, I would have that many children too! I’ve heard women compare themselves to her — only, in this way: O, I probably would’ve had X number of children, too, but I breastfed all mine for X number of years; or, I wonder why she had them all so close or whatever. See? comparativitis is such a damaging thing. It brings such condemnation — either to ourselves or to the one to whom we’re comparing ourselves. Isn’t the better part of valor, certainly of wisdom, to just say or think: God bless her. God bless all the mama’s. God bless all those who never had an opportunity to carry a child… in arm, to term or even conception.
If we’re going to spend any time today comparing… let’s not compare from a critical or even from a defeatist attitude… If we’re going to compare, let’s compare notes… let’s see what’s going on and see what we can do to improve our situation, our home, our outlook or whatever else is concerning us. Let’s be glad… glad for wherever we are, whatever God’s allowed us this day. Let’s consider what we might learn from one another. Let’s consider Jesus: who for the joy that was set before Him…