My baby is cuter than yours.
“Is it okay to say that?” I wonder to myself. Probably not. Later in the day I tell my wife that I think our baby is cuter than other babies and discover that she’s thought the exact same thing. But she agrees that it’s better not said aloud.
But then I catch myself and wonder why I’m always comparing my baby to other babies. I find myself watching other babies in parks or at church and seeing what they can or can’t do. A few weeks ago I saw a baby girl crawling at church and asked her mom how old she was. “6 months,” was the answer. In my head I was thinking, “6 months? My baby is 7 months already and she still isn’t crawling yet. Is my baby a slow developer? Or is their baby a fast developer? Did I not teach my baby how to crawl? Am I supposed to be doing something more?”
The comparison trap.
When I was single, I would obsess over comparing myself to others. What grade did you get on that exam? Have you traveled to more countries than I have? How much money are you making?
Now that I have a baby, I not only compare myself to others, but I compare my baby to others.
Why is that?
Our culture assigns people and things value by comparing them against others.
Here are some examples I can think of off the top of my head:
- Forbes list of billionaries
- Fortune 500 companies
- Maclean’s university rankings
- People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People
- Time 100 (Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world)
- The GPA system (which grades students based on their performance against other students)
- A company’s top performers list
- Billboard Hot 100
- Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, Nobel Prizes, Olympics
- Tim and Olive’s Top 10 blog posts of 2012
The basic message is that if you are better, smarter, faster, more successful, more popular, more beautiful, or more talented than others, then you have more value in the world. You are more loved. You are more important.
I don’t agree with this message.
And I definitely don’t want my daughter to believe this about herself.
When I start comparing my baby to others, I need to stop and remind myself that I don’t love my baby more because she is cuter than the average baby. And I don’t love my baby less because the video of her laughing doesn’t have as many YouTube views as the baby laughing about ripping paper (123 views vs 46 million views – in case you were wondering).
I love my daughter for who she is and not what she can do or how she looks.
As my daughter grows up in this culture that will directly and subtly communicate to her that her value is based on how she compares to others, we want to communicate a different message to her. She is valued because she is created by God in the image of God. And we love her because she is our child, given to us by God.
photo credit: Muffet via photo pin cc