Today I was tutoring two teenage brothers, and we have been working through Sean Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Our reading and discussion was about the “Tumor Twins,” competition and comparison. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and Rachel Hollis expounded on Teddy’s words with, “Comparison is the DEATH of joy.” The boys and I had a great chat about what that means, and examples in the teen life of how comparing and deriving value outside of oneself does not benefit us.
Later this afternoon, I was on Instagram and saw picture after picture of young teachers posing in their immaculately decorated classrooms. I thought of one of my friends, it was her first year in the classroom after years of being a reading specialist. She worked all summer on research, curriculum, inclusion practices, accessibility, organization, community-building activities, and planning the scope and sequence for the year. Another teacher was hired at the same time and spent all summer decorating her classroom. When all of the teachers reported back to school for the year, many complimented the teacher on her beautiful classroom. The principal even made it a point to mention it in the kick-off staff meeting.
It got me thinking. This pervasive idea of perfection is bred from those ‘tumor twins,’ competition and comparison. Covey says, there is a sunny side and dark side of competition. Competing is healthy when it is against oneself and a challenge to level up. It becomes unhealthy when the competition is when one tied self-worth in the win, or when someone places themselves above others as a result of the competition. Comparison distracts us from your own race, it leaves us open to ride a wave of emotions, and drift further away from personal growth.
Pinterest perfection is not real. Instagram isn’t real. Perfect classrooms, dinners, bodies, houses, families, are not real. We live life, it’s messy, we are imperfect, and that is amazing!
When we spend more time on the experience of the dinner rather than the perfect plate picture, when we use our time for planning for the educational experience rather than the prettiest room, when we enjoy a day at the beach rather than worrying over how we look in a bathing suit; we can BE PRESENT. That is the entire reason that we work so hard, to be present and make this day a good day.
Tomorrow is the first day of August, the Sunday of summer. I will be sharing ideas, tips, stories, and strategies for enjoying, being present, and valuing this beautiful Sunday of summer. Check back right here and on social media for more value. Have an amazing day, friends!