Anything You Can Do…

Anything You Can Do

No competition here; just good, plain fun!

It’s there, you can feel it. The underlying edge to the conversation. These women aren’t sharing their knowledge of learning and parenting for the sake of edification. Nope; they are condescendingly sharing their ideas so that others will admire their actions, abilities, and resources.

Is it a female thing; this need to compare ourselves to other people? While I am sure there are men who engage in such actions, I find this to be more prevalent in women. We weigh our curriculum, our routines, our households, our relationships, and more against someone else’s. Why do we do this?

Sometimes we are doing so simply to evaluate where we stand. Are we on the right path? Is there more we could be doing? At other times, if we are being honest with ourselves, we are filled with pride. How could they do that; don’t they know it’s not the best way to homeschool? Why would she do that; doesn’t she understand that is a major parenting mistake?

There are times when sharing our views is perfectly acceptable. When someone asks how we organize our day or which curriculum we like best, it can be fun to share ideas and compare how families differ in their preferences. If a person is needing moral council, we should share the will of Christ. Nor is it a concern if we are merely expressing our opinions or feelings; we have the freedom to do so. However, we need to be very careful that we are doing so with the right attitude. It can be all too easy to shift from sharing to downgrading. Instead of giving examples of what we do and explaining why we like it, we become condescending toward those who don’t do the same. We belittle those who are different from ourselves. I have heard this specific complaint mentioned numerous times. How sad!

We need to avoid the sin of pride. Pride prevents us from establishing good relationships and sharing Christ with others. We think our way is best and think less of those who aren’t doing the same. Apart from moral issues, we need to understand that our way of doing things is simply that; our way. It is not our job to convince people to our way of thinking, nor is our way the only way the job gets done.

To further complicate the problem, what are we teaching our children when they see us engage in this action? Instead of modeling a gracious spirit, one with a heart to edify and encourage, we are teaching them the art of pride.

In our daily conversations, we need to be careful how we conduct ourselves. Our pride can quickly get us into trouble and stumble others around us. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we are immune to this problem. In fact, sometimes, it’s just the opposite. Christians can too often be filled with self-righteousness and pride. When we do catch ourselves giving in to this temptation, we need to ask forgiveness and begin to change our ways. If we happen to be present when such a conversation is being held, we need to speak up! Graciously and humbly, we should counsel those given over to pride.

Sharing about our lives can be lots of fun and often helps others. Let’s share with grace and humility, with a desire to edify those around us. Anything else is just pride.

Time to Chime In: Do you find it hard to speak up when you overhear a person being condescending? How do you deal with such situations?

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17 thoughts on “Anything You Can Do…

  1. love, love, love this! And yes, I do speak up when I hear someone being condescending. Having 4 daughters, I do not ever want any one of them to think it is okay to talk down to others, or let others talk down to them!

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  2. I’ve learned that for me, comparisons usually end up leading to discontent or to pride. Either I wish I was like someone else, or I feel “exalted” above the people that I have compared myself to. It’s so wrong. We have to be comfortable enough in ourselves to walk our own path and allow others the same freedom.

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  3. This is a great post! Unfortunately, I do have a hard time speaking up when I hear others speaking in a condescending way toward others/myself. Any kind of confrontation makes me very nervous. However, I do realize that we should approach our sisters/friends/fellow mommas in a humble and loving way when we do see them slip into this sort of pride and hope that they will do the same for us! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  4. Love this post. You’re so right- there is a fine line between sharing and one-upmanship. I think men compete too, but in different ways. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of very smart women homeschooling their kids, and the race seems to be on for who has the brightest kids.
    I’ve been convicted of my own flaws too, times when I’ve shared things for the wrong reasons. I’m working on it… trying to avoid anything that doesn’t make me feel uplifted and encouraged, being careful not to do it to someone else.

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    • That is an excellent point, “…shared things for the wrong reasons.” Sometimes we need to evaluate the reason we share what we do. I have been guilty of this myself from time-to-time. Is my purpose to help them or for them to leave thinking more highly of my accomplishments? This is a good heart check for all of us!

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  5. Amen. Thank you for this post! We are not immune to pride. We are also very vulnerable to insecurity. Either way, it gets very ugly! This post is a great reminder not to compare ourselves to others. I find it very discouraging when I do fall into the nasty habit of comparisons. “Wow, she has it all together! What is my problem???” I don’t respond very well to someone who is condescending. Usually just try to find a way out of the convo. Going to approach this differently from now on, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance 🙂 This blessed me!

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    • How much easier it would be to walk away when we see this happening, wouldn’t it? (sigh) I can’t help but think the one being spoken to would like the help though. I would hate to think they would leave the conversation disheartened or even upset (angry) over the issue. Perhaps our speaking up will deflate a situation which could turn unpleasant.

      Something for all of us to think about…

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  6. I totally get you Mom. Especially when it comes to the older people in the church. I always find myself comparing myself to you guys and others or I catch myself getting haughty when I know something that others don’t. Oops.

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  7. “To further complicate the problem, what are we teaching our children when they see us engage in this action? Instead of modeling a gracious spirit, one with a heart to edify and encourage, we are teaching them the art of pride.”

    I love how you worded this. I find that graciousness does not come naturally to me. And of course I think that the way I do things is the best way, or I wouldn’t do it. However, allowing pride to reign and say it’s the only way, or the best way for everyone…well, it’s all too easy to slip unthinkingly into that mindset.

    Lovely post on a topic we’d all do well to think hard on. Lord, may I learn to be only gracious and uplifting in my speech!

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  8. Oh my goodness! Just the other day I had dinner with friends who disapprove of homeschooling. I was shocked at how vocal they were in expressing their negative opinions about homeschooling…despite the fact that I homeschool my son. I was also dismayed by the confidence they had in offering me their suggestions for “better” educational options. I then spent the rest of dinner listening to how well their children were doing. I remained silent. I returned home frustrated. I seldom (if ever) offer my opinion to others about how to raise children, let alone brag about my choices. Each family, child & situation is different, and I understand that, as an outsider, I do not have the answers for other families. I am just shocked that so many others seem to feel they have all the answers. Grace and humility…those are two virtues we should all try to embody. Thanks for the awesome post!

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  9. I am learning to be o.k. with others not agreeing with me. I feel anxious when I share my view. I am new to the home school world. I dreamed of being a home school mom for a really long time. My first year of home schooling my young five year old boy was hard and frustrating. I was disappointed and I started to feel inadequate and I started second guessing myself. I was weak and some friends encouraged me to hang in there. They did not give me advice. They just believed in me and prayed for me. Then there were those who did not encourage me. They fell silent before me and in their quietness I sensed judgement. This was painful. I learned so much during this time. I realized that in order for me to home school my children I’m going to have to be myself. Now I’m having fun and things are going so much better. No mom should be put into one box. God created us all different with our own unique gifts and talents.. He calls us to serve and do all things in love. I feel like I can stand stronger when I do not compare myself to others. I want to be a mom who does a better job at encouraging others to be who God made them to be. Moms need to be loved and sometimes we forget that everyone is learning. I love your post because it reminds me how important it is to show compassion towards one another. Thanks for writing such a powerful post. A post that will keep me thinking. And ladies thanks for all your replies. I have read every ones up to this point and I am encouraged. I am new to this blog and I am exited to continue.

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    • I’m sorry to hear the beginning of your homeschooling journey wasn’t all it could have been. It breaks my heart to hear of families who are struggling in this area, feeling as if they are alone.

      Thank you for the kind comments and for taking a moment to read along.

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