As adults, our groups of people (by our own choice) are often same but different. Our small group is the perfect example. 10 adults all very similar. Similar in life stage, similar hobbies and passions, similar life goals. It is a wonderful basis for deep friendships. But it’s actually the DIVERSITY that makes us strong as a group. The differences are the important pieces. The gifts that fill in other’s weaknesses. How people can encourage other’s just starting the journey they have done. The differences in how we were raised and our root reactions to situations. It is remarkably powerful of living life with people who ARE different than you. It makes you more brave and more aware and more strong and more loving.
A big blessing of two kids is that there is comparison.
Now I know I know. Comparison has such a negative connotation with it. Especially when it comes to people (because who likes to be compared?!). It has extra weight when applied to family, especially siblings, because it’s often a tender topic, one with pain attached to it.
So as a young parent I am aware of that tenderness.
However, in a non-negative way, comparison also allows for identification of differences for the GOOD. Ways that one kid was created and gifted and another way another kid was created and gifted. Identifying these areas allows us to encourage the gifts and stretch them. It allows us to work through struggles and give them healthy coping mechanisms. It’s not “comparison” in the bad vs good type of way (which is completely wrong to do with people anyway since we are all equal and unique); but rather a this vs that type of way.
So. Apply that healthy comparison (or persons diversity) to our children.
E and E.
They are so young and just starting to show the quirks that make them them. There are the influences of birth order and thus parenting changes and habits that come with experience. There are influences of the strength and energy of us as parents interacting in their lives. So many factors. But here are some trends even now as toddlers.
Similar? They BOTH are passionate big feeling individuals. There is not a passive one. They both attempt alpha status on most activities. They love each other and us in BIG ways with tickles and tackles and gentle sharing and kisses. They equally fight each other and us in BIG ways with hitting and pushing and yelling. But I would rather have passionate kids than passive kids because I know in the future it will be their biggest weakness and their biggest strength.
Differences? How they approach life. Ethan is order. Evy is random. Ethan is companionship. Evy is Independent. Ethan is meticulous and perfectionist driven. Evy is sporadic and adventurous. Ethan is rigid. Evy is flexible. Ethan is coordinated and organized. Evy is creative and imaginative. Ethan is math and reason. Evy is, well, she’s only one year old so not sure on some of this yet. I could give multiple examples for each of them — and in obvious ways both will have their struggles with how they approach life. But we already love to lean into the strength of their DNA.
This is so exciting to me. Because this is the holy reason we heard God tell us to say “yes” to parent a second child. “I have more love to give” was the first reason Matt heard. And “learn to love differences. like God loves everyone. We need more to learn about loving equally unconditionally in the midst of complex differences”. It is a deep holy faith moment for us to appreciate and understand God’s love for us just a little bit more through the role of a parent.
The discussions Matt and I have together about our kids isn’t to pigeonhole them, or label them, or pressure them. It’s not so we can get the latest toy or sign up for something that “fits” them well. We love to talk about it because knowing who we live with helps US love them specifically and individually. Our discipline, while very similar, will be different for each of them. Rather than the discussion focusing on them, it actually focuses us as parents and understanding God more.
We sit around and have talks about why, just perhaps, he or she was created. What eternal impact did God make them for? What struggles will they endure to learn or to teach? What pain will they experience to show other’s God’s faithfulness? Where will they go? Who will be their own partners and companions throughout their life chapters??
Oh my. The joy of two children is all these answers will be different. And that is BEAUTIFUL!
So we are so excited to see how they continue to change and grow. And not just as school age kids. I look forward to the fast-forward moments when they are in their 30s, lord willing, and figuring out life even more and the joy it will be to watch them as adults. More than the job they choose to pay the bills or find joy in their gifts. We desire to watch their eyes see what God sees and their heart to explode with love for people.
God’s design to create families, both genetic or by choice, by communities and interdependent relationships, is so fascinating. Even more so, the differences in people he purposely creates so we may live in unity, but in complete and utter dependence on each other’s differences to fulfill our life purposes. May we be wonderful stewards of our kid’s minds while we have them under our roof for the early span of their lives. And with each year they become more mature, may God show us how to parent them wisely for His purposes he has for them.