- to regard as similar, to liken
- to examine in order to observe or discover similarities or differences
- to be worthy of comparison with
- to be regarded as similar or equal
- to make comparisons
- to stand in comparison; measure up
etymology: Latin comparare com- with parare- to make equal
Often it can be very helpful to compare. It is a useful skill that has resulted in improvements, invetions and advancements in all fields of life throughout history. When we arrive in a new situation we compare it to what we know already in order to decide how best to deal with the unknown. Comparisons allow us to get the best deals and make the better choices. We can learn much when we compare one thing to another.
As long as comparison is limited to inanimate objects it is safe and helpful; but as soon as you start comparing human beings then it becomes more complicated. Comparison has inspired and motivated discoverers to explore new lands, sports people to push performance boundaries; academics to excell, and innovators to invent. yet it is a double edged sword - there is always one person who walks away feeling motivated and superior, whilst the other is left defeated, demotivated and inferior. And the darker side of comparison is what drives much of our materialistic economy - the desire to be better than one's neighbour - to have the better clothers, car, house, watches, cell phones, body, hair, appearance etc. is all rooted in me comparing myself to you.
Comparing children, is not however, a complicated matter. It is never helpful, useful or beneficial. It should be avoided at all costs. Yet so many of us fall into this trap, including myself. When I slip into measuring Matt up to another child, he and I inevitably end up feeling defeated, demotivated and inferior. I start focusing on all the things he can't do, rather than celebrating all the things that he can, and all the things that he is. Yet that is not really how I view Matt, nor do I wish him to view himself in this light.
Given how prevalent comparison is in our lives and society, I have decided that the only way to prevent myself from falling in its trap is to be ruthless about eliminating comparison from my life.
I am committing myself to being intentional about celebrating each child for who she is, for the unique gifts and personality he may have and for the personal achievements she has reached. I want to actively war against comparision by speaking blessing and encouragement over Matt and also over every child of my friends, seeking out the special think that God is doing in them.
Will you join me in finding the good and unique thing in every child?