Today’s Saint: St. John de Brebeuf
Gospel reading: John 9:1-41
My children and I have been talking a lot lately about talent. It’s hard for young children to understand why some people can do things that others cannot.
At times, it seems downright unfair that “Betty” can perform her karate forms better, or that “Ben” can paint brilliant portraits when all we can do is stumble around and draw crude stick figures.
After overhearing some particularly hurtful comments made about a young student in my children’s karate class, who happened to be absent that day, I knew that I had to take action. I didn’t want my own children perpetuating the belief that their fellow student was being “such a show-off.”
I explained how God made us all different, so that we could help each other out. After all, He created Eve to be Adam’s helpmate for a reason. If we had all the same talents, we would all be good at doing the same things…and vice versa; we would all be pretty lousy in the same ways too! But, since we are different, we can be awesome in a much broader spectrum of ways by working together.
I went on to explain to my children how it may be true that “Betty” is better at doing her karate forms, but that doesn’t necessarily make her a show-off. She is simply good at what she does. And, truth is, she may not even feel like she’s all that good. Regardless, she may practice harder at home or ask for extra help when she needs it…which is something we all can do!
I told my children that instead of getting mad and saying mean things about people who seem to be more talented than they are, they might try and pay attention to what those people do and use them as a helpmate to improve their own skills and abilities. At their next karate class, I was so pleased to hear the instructor reinforce this idea as they moved through their forms as a group. Yes, sometimes it’s nice to have a village when raising children!
“A man who governs his passions is a master of the world. We must either command them, or be enslaved by them.”-St. Dominic
When we fall into the comparison trap, we take the chance of never getting out unless we come to understand how those with “more” can help those with “less” and vice versa.
I challenge myself and others to use our talents wisely, be a helpmate for others, and ask for help when we need it ourselves. I admit that I am guilty of not always asking for help when I need it…but so lucky to have it when I do.
May we all learn and grow for and through others this Lenten season!