Monday, February 27, 2012

"These Are a Few of My Favorite Things . . ."

Genesis 37:4
When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.


Showing favoritism, especially within a family, is a guaranteed recipe for disaster.

As my son and daughter are growing up, I do everything I can to ensure I treat them equally.  From attempting to spend even one-on-one time with each to spending the same amount of money for their birthday and Christmas gifts, I try.  I really do.

I even count the number of items in their Christmas stockings.  Heaven forbid, one receive an extra trinket stuffed inside!  A chorus of "It's not fair!" would surely arise from the slighted party.

Despite my good intentions and best efforts, however, I don't always succeed.

Particularly, when it comes to daughter, Sarah.  Who, by the age of two, thinks she should be allowed to do the same things five-year-old brother, Daniel, does.

And, gets as angry and ornery as a stirred up yellow jacket when I tell her "no".

What a handful!

Tears.  Pouting.  Stomping her foot.

So jealous of her brother.

So mad at me.

Until I suggest we engage in a fun activity together.  Baking cookies.  Playing her favorite board game.  Taking a walk in the woods.

Tears dry.  Her sweet smile returns.

She gives me a hug.

"It's still not fair," she says.
~
Have you experienced favoritism in your life?  How did it make you feel?

Will you pray with me?
We are so grateful, Father, that you don't play favorites, that you love all of us, Your children, just the same.  Help us to love others as You love us and to treat others as we would like to be treated.  Amen.

Readings
Psalms 41, 52 or 44
Genesis 37:1-11
1 Corinthians 1:1-19
Mark 1:1-13 

21 comments:

  1. I have an elder brother. He always got new text books for school. He was academically a year ahead of me in school...and so I had to make do with his hand-me-downs, which I found very unfair. As I grew up I understood, it was more to do with money than favoritism.

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    1. Great to see you here, Janaki, and thanks for stopping by today!
      Yes, I agree, it's tough being the younger child in a family and seeing the older sibling get things first. As you said here, though, it is not out of favoritism, usually, but due to economic needs.
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  2. I am the middle sibling.... and I used to get it from both ends. Now in our adult life the tables have turned... now they both get it from me!

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    1. Lol, Savira!
      Thanks so much for stopping by. It's great to have you back!
      Blessings!

      Delete
  3. Martha,
    My son will be 17 this Sunday and my daughter will be 14 at the end of March. My son hates her sister so badly and he is very jealous of her. Like you I try to be as equal as I can, but it still isn't good enough. I is becoming tiring for me. I hope it will stop soon!!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Cathy!
      Yes, the teen years were even harder with the jealousy business and I don't envy your position at all. Like yours, my son and daughter are three years apart and the needs of boys and girls are often so different. Now that they are adults, all is well. So, my friend, it DOES get better!
      Blessings!

      Delete
  4. While I do not agree that everything should be fair and equal at home, great post! Being the eldest of 9, nothing was ever equal and we all knew that, each of us got what we needed, when we needed it or when it could be afforded. It may have meant a gift more or two at a birthday or less. I think early lessons in life that things are not always fair or equal helped round me out to be who I am today.

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    1. Thanks, RoseAnn, for stopping by today!
      Wow! Eldest of nine? That's a big family, for sure.
      Your early lessons learned that life is not always fair or equal are good ones to carry into adulthood. I can't tell you how many times I had to tell my two that "life isn't fair". As adults, that is definitely something they have realized.
      Blessings!

      Delete
  5. I am also a middle child but for many years was the only girl. There were feelings of favoritism spread among all the kids. I think it is just apart of life and learning to deal with how "UNFAIR" (because you know when you're a kid it is not life is unfair but "THAT IS SOOOOOOOOO UNFAIR".

    What I try to do with my little one's is not allow tantrum's or negative behavior by one dominate. That happened more than anything else growing up in our home. My oldest brother was always in trouble and it dominated the majority of my parents time and energy... leaving very little for the other siblings. My youngest has a very charming & boisterous personality, and she also is more mischievous. I try to make sure that my oldest doesn't get lost in the mix... she is very mild, witty and gentle.

    Thank you for the topic and the reminder...

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    1. Thanks so much for dropping in today, Amy!
      Isn't it amazing how different children in one family can be? It sounds like you are doing everything possible to let yours shine their individual lights into the world with as much fairness as possible.
      And, you're right about kids constantly using the phrase, "That's soooo unfair!" I think it must be the mandatory mantra of the young!
      Blessings!

      Delete
  6. Remember Me. Being the father of two daughters i can vouch for how difficult it can be not to do anything that may be perceived to show favourtism. From the age where they could understand, i always made it clear i would love them both equally and nothing could ever change that. There would be times where one of them excelled, and each of us should be proud of that moment. No rivalry, but support. Everything seems to have remained in balance and favourtism has never come into question.

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    1. How could I forget you, Larry? :) Just dropped by your latest post today - marvelous!
      It sounds like you've got the system down pat. I love the "no rivalry, but support" approach. And, that you made it clear to your girls that they were equally loved is a concept children need to hear, sometimes repeatedly for it to truly sink in.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Blessings!

      Delete
  7. Favoritism is definitely not a pleasant feeling , especially when one is on the shorter end of it, leaving feelings of jealousy and a sense of hurt behind. I, like you, try painstakingly to reassure my children that they are both valued, not wanting one to feel like I love the other any better.

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    1. Hi, Jessica, and thanks so much for dropping in today!
      I can tell just from your comments on FB about your children that you strive to never favor one over the other. :) Being on the short end of favoritism, as you pointed out here, leads to envy and hurt. Not a place any of us wants to be.
      Blessings!

      Delete
  8. I was reflecting on this last night and it also gave me more insights on what I'll write on Corinne's bloghop on comparison :)

    I have always imagined what Joseph was like. It's not easy to have lots of brothers but maybe he made it so easy to be loved or perhaps to was because he was born by the woman Jacob loved. Maybe his brothers didn't make life easy for him too...

    Looking at this situation, in our family, well, I have an only brother who's also a genius. I was never jealous of him because I love him so much too among my siblings (shhh).When his child came, I saw the same thing with her. She's so alive and adorable and Belle became a bit jealous because the world doesn't revolve around her anymore.

    I became more sensitive to this issue because even if the child doesn't say it outright, her attitude toward Fau changes. So we made her responsible of Fau~ to take care of her and look after her needs.

    I pray with you. I also feel glad God doesn't play favorites. Cure me Lord of my tendencies to become envious or jealous of other people. Help me instead to love them the way You love us.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by today, Melissa, and for leaving such a sensitive comment as always!
      I believe the story of Joseph is in the Bible exactly for this reason - we do tend to "play favorites" and God doesn't want us to do so. We are shown clearly the negative effects this can have on all our relationships with others.
      It's good that you've been able to see the tendency in your own family and to gain new insight and sensitivity about it.
      And, I, with you, am so grateful that God doesn't play favorites with us, but loves us all the same!
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  9. Favoritism was rampant in my house, just ask the adult children now.I wasn't really, they all had different interests and I tried to spend as much time as I could with each. One of the things I have to reconcile with myself is that I did the best I could do. One thing none of them argue about is the fact that mom always loved them and was there when they needed her...<3

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    1. It's such a difficult thing raising children whose interests and abilities differ greatly. It sounds like you did the best job imaginable as, now that they are grown, each one knows how much you loved them and met their needs when they arose. What more can a mom do?
      Blessings to you!

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  10. Growing up I always thought that my Mom favored my second brother. As I grew I realized that she was just making sure that he being very sensitive didn't get crushed between my eldest brother and I - both with strong personalities!

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    1. Our childhood perceptions, I think, do make us feel at times that a parent is favoring one sibling over another. But, it's usually, as in your situation, a case where one child requires much more encouragement to come out of his shell than another does.
      Thanks for sharing here, Corinne!
      Blessings!

      Delete

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