Today I was the host for the weekly playgroup. At the end I was able to talk to one of the mom's for a minute. I had a profound revelation while I was talking to her.
My friend is in the Primary presidency for our ward. The Primary Program is coming up soon and the presidency is very concerned about whether the kids are ready or not when it comes to the music. We just got a new Primary chorister and it is a hard calling for her. She is struggling. I have been the Primary chorister many times and it comes very easy to me. I enjoy teaching kids, I love music, and I have had many opportunities to 'perfect' my music pedagogy skills. But she has not. This is her first time.
They want to have a meeting to see what we can do to get ready for the program. I am the pianist and don't really think I need to go. Plus, I would hate to cause the chorister any anxiety by anything I would say that she might misconstrue as a criticism. She is not me and definitely brings her own skill set to this calling. I would hate to intimidate her as I know I have a big personality and a lot of opinions. Haha! I just don't want her to compare herself to me. I really think she is doing a great job so far and seems to be getting more comfortable each week. It just really would not be fair for her to compare herself to me in this capacity. I know I have a natural gift for this and years and years of experience.
In the same way, the chorister is an amazing woman. It can almost be intimidating if I look at myself compared to her. Every time I have gone to her house, it is immaculate and she is so well put together. Her kids are a joy and she seems so organized. I, on the other hand, am not so organized, and nine times out of ten, my house is a disaster zone. My kids are a bit unruly and I have somewhat of a temper. In other words, just like she might be intimidated with my chorister skills, I could say with ease that I am intimidated a tiny bit by her homemaking skills.
However, just like I have had years of practice and a natural gift for teaching, I learned that my chorister friend gets a lot of help from her mother. According to my friend, her mother has potty-trained all of her kids. Her mother is there a lot to do stuff with the family and lend a hand. I, on the other hand, don't ever get that kind of support. I am on my own and my husband is out of town every single week.
I realized even more how foolish it is to compare myself to others. I have been blessed with a lot of strengths, but I definitely have weaknesses to keep me humble. The dear chorister would definitely say the same thing about her strengths and weaknesses.
In the end, we are all just people doing the best we can with the skills and resources that are available to us. Don't compare yourself to others. You don't have the same skills and resources that they do, no matter what it looks like from the outside peering in.
What I do know is that I am very grateful that the chorister and the other women who live around me are in my life. I have learned a lot while living here and in other places. Instead of it being a competition, I know I can rely on these women to be a resource and inspiration to me. I think it is natural to compare, but with some perspective it definitely helps me stay grounded and secure in who I am and what I can do.