Life Lessons from Kids: jealousy

Since becoming a parent, I have been learning some pretty awesome life lessons. This week, I learned about jealousy.

One of the things I love most about having kids is seeing them learn and watch them grow.

But, over the last seven years, my kids are not the only ones who have changed. I have too. Some change has come due to watching my children and seeing something in them that I am lacking.

Well, I learned something about myself watching my 4-year-old daughter.

life-lessons-from-kids

The scenario   

My eldest daughter has gone back to school. She just started second grade, and my husband wanted to have some special one on one time with her before she started. One Sunday after church they had a quick bite to eat and went on their way.

They left the house without much fanfare around 1:30. Since it was her showtime, my younger daughter did not even notice that her sister was gone. At around 4 pm, I called my husband to ask him if he was coming home for dinner and that’s when he informed me of their dinner plans.

He was in speakerphone so my 4-year-old heard the whole thing.

She had been missing her sister so she asked: where are you? What are you doing?

That is when my youngest daughter got the full report. She heard that her sister had seen a movie and was going to go to Wendy’s for dinner.

During the conversation, I was getting emotionally ready for a full-blown tantrum.

But it didn’t come.

Her response

When my eldest told her sister what she was going to have for dinner: a hamburger and fries, my youngest daughter’s response was: yeah!!

She was truly happy and excited for her older sister. Then, when she heard about the movie, she was still happy!

Her response blew me away.

My 4-year-old was excited and happy about somebody else’s good fortune.

My lesson:

Watching this happen made me ask a hard question.

How often am I truly happy for people when good things happen to them?

After spending some time thinking this over, the ugly truth hit me pretty hard. I am hardly ever truly happy for someone else’s good fortune.

When good things happen to people, my gut response is usually envy and jealousy.

Jealousy

As I thought about my daughter and started composing this blog post, I wanted to know: what is the opposite of jealousy? I wasn’t sure and actually had to look it up.

So I went to my favourite word sight word hippo and looked it up.

According to them, the opposite of jealousy is to be content.

Content: in a state of peaceful happiness, Satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc., and not wishing for more

When I saw the definition, I understood why my gut reaction is usually jealousy and envy. It’s because I don’t feel satisfied and I don’t feel like I have good fortune.

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Contentment?

Since this all just happened, I still don’t have all the answers.

I truly feel like The Lord used my child to show me that I am not naturally content and that I obviously have some work to do.

God wants us to be content.

Philippians 4:10-13 NKJV

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Ask yourself these questions:

  • When good things happen to people, am I truly happy for them? Why/Why not?
  • What steps can I take to be more content with my life?

I hope this challenges you as it did me.

In the comments, let me know what life lessons you have learned from your kids.

Please share this post with friends and family. Thank you.

A mom playing with  bubbles with her son. With words overlay that say: Jealousy life lesson from kids.
A mom baking with her daughter. There is text above the picture that says: Life lessons from kids jealousy.

7 responses to “Life Lessons from Kids: jealousy”

  1. Brittany Ferrell Avatar

    I love this! The innocence of children can teach us so much. I am the type of person that is genuinely happy for others. No, really! I don’t recognize jealousy as an emotion…even when I struggled with infertility for years, I planned all my girlfriend’s baby showers and loved every second. However, I am totally dumbfounded when someone is jealous of me and reacts negatively to my good news. I seriously do not even know how to respond! Now I shall share your post with them!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      That’s amazing!! It’s a gift to be able to truly be happy for people. I tend to be the jealous type, then God works on me for a bit and I’m happy for them. It’s a process for me.

  2. Lora Armendariz Avatar

    This is so true. Our natural reaction to others isn’t always to be happy for them. Thank you for the Biblical-based advice on how to fight this and find peace.

  3. Tina Truelove Avatar

    Sometimes even adults can get jealous when something they wanted for themselves happens to someone else. Thank you for this lesson and for the reminder of Philippians 4:10-13.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Your welcome. It’s for sure easier said then done

  4. Rodney Olsen Avatar

    So wonderful when children can celebrate when good things happen for their siblings. 🙂

    I’m sure you’ll encourage that attitude so that it can be carried throughout life.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I am trying. My children sometimes seem to. Have better character development then I do. It’s a good reminder to be more like children sometimes.

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