Comparison is the Thief of Joy, Part III

The other morning I had a conversation with 9 year old Early Bird. It included a relativity thought experiment, subjective time aging compared to non relativistic subjective time, Steven Hawkins’ Time Traveler Party experiment, orbital mechanics, and correcting a common misconception about how escaping the atmosphere. I shared it on my personal facebook because I found it happy making and amusing, despite the fact that I had not finished my morning coffee and did not feel nearly caffeinated enough to keep up with the discussion.

But once I did finish my coffee and my brain was fully awake, I started thinking. I keep coming back to the concept of comparison being the thief of joy (part 1 here, part 2 here) because I continue to learn different ways it applies. Early Bird is gifted. In a certifiable, 2E (Twice Exceptional) way. Lady Bug is not.

Lady Bug tests as severely developmentally delayed in both speech and global. Does celebrating Early Bird’s intelligence insult or degrade Lady Bug? No! We celebrate with great joy every new little thing she does with as much, if not more, pride.

SO why should other people with non gifted children find mention of gifted children’s accomplishments so personally insulting? And believe me, it does happen; a lot.

In our family we have a philosophy based on the Earnest Hemingway quote:

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

We do not allow “my [insert object here] is better than his,” or “his [insert talent or ability] is better than mine,” in our home. We ask, “have you learned something? Is it better than what you’ve done before? Yes? Then that’s AWESOME!”

Parents of delayed kids, neurotypical kids, and gifted kids need to stop comparing to any other metric than the individual child’s past ability. Think of how much happier people would be if we all did that.


For those of you interested in the book shown in the picture, that’s the Usborne First Encyclopedia of Space. But the information that he was talking about he got from the book What If?  Yes, I am an Amazon Affiliate. For more info see my posted disclaimer.

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