22 October, 2013

Be careful what you envy

While I get sympathy for having three boys, I'm also on the receiving end of envy for having three smart kids.
Sometimes at the end of a day with my boys I feel
like I've been metaphorically pummelled with a
speeding bowling ball, multiple times.

I usually respond that being smart doesn't make them easy kids to parent. Yes, it does mean that we don't often agonise over homework. They generally don't struggle with the content.

But, that doesn't mean that they have good time-management skills, or good people skills. It doesn't mean that they know how to concentrate on one thing at a time.

In fact we have difficulties with too much interest in too many things. That can be a great distraction for actually getting the necessary things done. We have trouble with too much thinking. Thinking, in exclusion to actually getting things done (like getting dressed for school).

Self-control, yes, that's an issue too. We have issues with "not suffering fools". This can produce very rude behaviour. Overconfidence and arrogance, yes, that appears here too. We struggle with boredom, compounded with a great deal of boy-energy and competitiveness.

Because they are smart, a lot is expected of them and not much sympathy is given. That's a hard standard to live with.

Someone recently said to me that being very intelligent is a little bit like having a car with a large, powerful engine under the hood. You need good control and good brakes to deal with a car like that. Little people, more often than not, don't have the necessary skills to deal with that.

I'm not saying I'd rather have my kids less intelligent. I think they are going to be amazing adults, if only we can get them through growing up! Parenting kids like this is hard work. You really have to be on your toes! These kids are sharp and not much gets past them. We can't fob them off with a not-quite-right answer. You have to work hard to be ahead of them.

Be careful what you envy

I used to envy the good looks of a good friend. But when I realised that she had difficulties with telling if a guy was really interested in her, or just being with someone beautiful, the idea of being so beautiful lost a bit of its glamour.

Many times we envy what we don't have, not realising that what the other person has or is also comes with its own issues. It comes down to striving to be content. Ah, such a difficult balancing act.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain" 1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV). "...be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" Hebrews 13:5b (NIV). (This is in the context of money, but it applies more widely than that.)

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