I took my first job as Mother when I was 23 years old and freshly graduated from Toccoa Falls College.
A young wife, living in a single wide mobile home on a hill called “Mobile Heights”. It was a fancy name for a community of hopeful, in love, newly marrieds all trying to make it through college and survive marriage at the same time.
The wives passed around bins of maternity clothes and shared cheap pasta recipes.
No Pinterest and no Instagram. Just women creating life one day at time with dreams that were mostly influenced by reading books and talking to the face of a person in the same room.
We shopped at the super discount grocery store for frozen burritos and stood in lines on Fridays hopeful to shop the boxes of free, outdated food that the stores were getting rid of.
Every Mom had an opinion and everything we did with our kids added to our experience and not to our Social Media accounts.
The conversation buzz was about daycare, soccer teams, mommy/tot classes, early reading practice, and what to pack for lunches, but for the most part – we were just trying to find ourselves in this new role.
Moms were taking what they learned from their childhood and family experiences and using what they loved and letting go of what they didn’t. It seemed simple.
There was less questioning of unknown communities or strangers, and more talking face to face with a real life mentor.
Fast forward to now and I have teenage sons.
The level of comparison that they face in our culture is intense and often parents wonder how on earth to navigate it all.
All the trends, pressure to look just perfect, hair styles, friend circles, attention from girls, current music, adventures to seek, people to follow and don’t forget the pictures that must be taken.
It’s all overwhelming and complicated if they are left to themselves.
Well, I have great news!
We can still parent and live simply with our kids without living disengaged. The game changer is having meaningful conversations with your kids.
We can still only chase things of value and purpose and listen to the them about the things that weigh them down.
We have a choice in what we allow into the hands and minds of our kids and can ask them about what is important to them and why.
We still have influence over their hearts and can share stories about our past to deepen connection and talk about boundaries.
We are the ones who still have the most time with them, not the church, or school, or friends.
We can take captive moments on the couch, at the table, in the car, throwing a football, or cooking a meal and actually talk.
Before the comparison culture of style, talent, peer friendship, celebrity vibe, and future success settles into their identity… we can be there to help them identify the comparison traps and sift through the identity struggle.
Yes they will compare. We all do.
Yes they will struggle with some doubt and insecurity like the rest of us. That can be defining.
Sometimes the amount of online time and keeping up with a zillion people they will never meet causes a false sense of security and value.
I want my kids to engage with culture but I want them to know that who they are is who God wants to use.
He can’t use them if they are living life through the lens of someone else, let alone a stranger.
I want them to know that they have much to offer.
I often feel like my job is to keep their feet firmly planted in God’s truth while not becoming naive to whats going on around them. Hard to do but possible
The time we live in is exciting and all a buzz all the time. I trust God’s timing for my kids to be living today and I do not want to run.
If He wanted me to be raising kids in our current culture then I need to be prepared and completely in. I am never always on top of my game but I want to be and that is enough for God to use!
I’d love to be the Mom who can embrace and add balance to all of the ways they may be comparing themselves, our family, and our values.
This my friends is fierce, intentional, in the ring parenting.
We get to be that face to face real-time mentor this week. Whatever comes at our kids, we can help process and keep whats helpful and toss out whats not!
When they compare, let’s be there.