Eyes on your own paper…

Eyes on your own paper…


Little man has been noticing new things at school lately. He’s noticing that She is reading harder books than him. He’s noticing that Hemay be doing harder math problems than him. Mind you, the boy is excelling in school, steadily reading and participating in a math challenge group. As a Kindergartener I want to believe this is too young to be noticing those things, to be ranking oneself by way of comparison.

It came up at bedtime as we were wrapping up our books. He was troubled by the fact that two classmates were reading chapter books in school and he didn’t feel he could (inaccurate assumption, by the way). Because of this, he felt they were smarter than he was, and he was feeling uneasy. He was feeling less than. I encouraged him to share how it makes him feel and listened patiently, although my protective inner Mama Bear wanted nothing more than to jump in immediately and fill him up with…”Oh no, don’t you go there…that’s plain crazy…you are a-MAAAZ…”

After he was finished I paused and asked him for a hug. We start most of our deep convos with a wholehearted hug. The exchange is mutually healing. I can often feel his worries melt into me in that moment, as if to reset. And as I absorb them, I am given a brief moment to collect myself as well.

I began by sharing how wonderful I think he is and how proud of him I am every single day, just for being himself. And that watching him shuffle his little self up the walk to the huge school, amongst all the other ants, many much bigger than him, makes me proud. That courageously walking into his classroom each and every morning, and giving all he has, makes me prouder. And that when his teacher told me he was, amongst many wonderful things, kind to his classmates and often looked out for them, I was proudest.

I told him that we all have unique gifts. Each person is born with a different collection. Some will be exceptionally coordinated or athletic. Some will find schoolwork easy and move quickly through reading and math. Some have an oversized heart and loads of extra love to share with others. Each person is special and important for THEIR unique offering and that particular mix is a gift to be appreciated. I told him I believe we were made that way for a reason…that we are all meant to complement each other and where we may struggle, others will have a gift to support it. We all fit together like a big puzzle, each piece as important as the next.

Keep your eyes on your own paper, Babe. Give it your all, and don’t be concerned with where others may be.

During our conversation it became clear to me that this feeling must be innate, present already on some level at a young age, and something we continue to struggle with our entire lives.

It occurred to me that I’ve been doing an awful lot of this, myself. I’d like to think that most often I’m focusing on my strengths, accepting of my weaknesses, following my passion, remaining true to myself, appreciating the gifts I may have, and feeling worth in just being Me. But sometimes I think it may look more like…’Ok, I’m finished with a piece. I like it. Wait…what’s that over there? Wo-oow. Now THAT’S _______ (insert: art, a writer, creative, a good mom, success)… glance back at my work * cringe*

It’s self-doubt; self-critiquing by COMPARISON, at it’s finest. It has a paralyzing power if left unattended.

I admitted to my son that I feel those very same feelings sometimes in my grown-up world. I provided a few examples and, to be honest, I think his expression read both surprised and relieved. He felt less alone about it all, less burdened by the notion that we’re all in it together. Even those we look to as the example, often mirror our feelings.

This conversation reminded me that, in his eyes, I’m perfect just the way I am, and compared to nobody. It’s mutual. It’s love. These babes are my teachers. I swear all the answers lie within them.

Babes, you will face these feelings now and again as you walk through life. Please don’t let them keep you from skipping, playing, and dancing freely down your path. Think less of your offering based on what others bring, and just continue to share You.

Absolutely admire the gifts of others, be inspired by their talents and accomplishments, allow them to stretch your limits, and be proud of them. But please, do not ever let their strengths translate to your inadequacy. There will always be better students, better writers, betterathletes, better speakers, better cooks, or better givers. And many times, others will see You as one of them.

Shine as YOU. For each person you look up to, you inspire another.




  1. Well said J. I feel we all can learn from this! I love reading your posts and I hope someday you will publish them! Love ya

  2. A great reminder, for sure! I think we’re all guilty of this. You seem like a genuinely amazing mom, an inspiration on how to communicate with our children, and learn and grow from them.

    • Thanks for the kind words. Love connecting with others. Our babes are just the best gifts, right? Blessed!

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