Parsley, Radishes and the Dangers of Comparison.

When I was young and living with my parents in Nigeria, I enjoyed planting things. I would take care of the flower pots and spend some sweat tending to the flower beds that surrounded our house. My dad loved trees, so we had a good number of them: Guava, Avocado, Orange, Coconut, Plantain and Banana (I’m missing the one on the left side of the house, I can’t remember what it was). We also planted the occasional vegetables too; Bitter leaf, Waterleaf, Aloe vera, Scent leaf (Africa basil), Yam, Potato, Pepper, Scotch bonnet, Tomato, Ugwu (fluted pumpkin), Corn and Tobacco (because it was known to ward off snakes. Yes, snakes. They were constant visitors to our home).

Even though I enjoyed the occasional planting and tending, I wouldn’t call myself a farmer or gardener. If there were planting and harvesting seasons, I had no clue. I kept no record of how long it took anything to grow. I just did what I did for the fun of it.

I have lived in the UK for a while and have done some occasional gardening in the spring and summertime, just for aesthetics. I don’t have a vegetable patch, and I don’t grow any herbs in my kitchen, at least, not until the lockdown began. On Drama Queen’s last day at nursery, she was given a packet of seeds, and because I took Bumble-Bee along to pick her up, he got one too. Since it was the weekend, I decided to save the planting activity for the coming week, no matter how many times she bugged me about it – I needed all the activities I could gather to fill up the timetable.

Monday came and we got busy. We read the instructions on the packs and realised that DQ had Parsley seeds and BB had Radish seeds. In their separate biodegradable pots, we planted them and set them on the window seal. I half expected them to sit there forever and not bud till the day I throw them away. I also thought that if they did bud, they’ll do it together. So you can imagine how surprised I was when after five days, I noticed the soil in BB’s pot rise with a few things sticking out, and before the end of that day, out came some leaves.

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-31 at 16.30.56-2

You know where I’m going, right? I’ll still take the long road and tell you.

These seeds looked alike. They were placed in similar pouches. They were given the same soil and the same biodegradable pot and I think I used the same water from the tap to plant them. They both sat side by side in my lovely white pot and were placed by the window, getting fed by the same amount of sunlight. When I watered one, I watered the other. So why did one grow faster than the other?

Sprouting Time

On a little label in the pack were written the sprouting times, repotting times and harvest times for both seeds. The sprouting time for Parsley is between 14 to 21 days while the sprouting time for Radish is between 7 to 14 days. If I hadn’t noticed it, I would have thought that the parsley was rubbish. If someone walked into my kitchen and saw both pots, they would wonder why one had a plant and the other was without, and maybe we might have decided to chuck the plantless one out.

Yesterday morning, as I watched the plants, the Lord spoke to me:

“Do you see why it’s dangerous to compare yourself with anyone else?”

So you were both born on the same day, you were fed the same kind of food, you had the same teacher in school, you read the same books and listened to the same kind of stuff, yet at age 35, he is married with kids and has a multimillion-dollar paying job. Of course, there are many seemingly valid reasons why you fell behind, but you don’t realise that you are both different in every single way.

You both do the same exercises and you’re both on the same diet, yet you have lost 10 more kilos than she has and you feel you’re better. You fail to realise that you both have different sprouting times and you let your success get into your head. Soon enough you start looking down on her and suspecting she’s probably not taking the weight-loss program seriously.

Your child writes properly but cannot read. Your neighbour’s child reads books that are well beyond his age. You keep wondering why your child hasn’t started reading even with all the effort you have put. You get upset and learning times become a pain for your child because of your frustration that stems from the baseless comparison of your child to another.

Sprouting times.

Don’t discard yourself because you think others are ahead of you in whichever way.

Don’t give up on that child because you think he or she isn’t achieving what others of the same age are.

Don’t give up on that business because you think it is fruitless, as you look at others flourishing around you.

Don’t give up on that marriage because you see lovely photos and videos of others on social media.

Don’t give up on that blog because you think your followers are dwindling in comparison to others.

Don’t give up praying altogether because you can’t pray as long as your friend, or pastor, or spouse.

Don’t give up!

But before you consider not giving up, how about this:

NEVER COMPARE YOURSELF WITH ANOTHER.

That’s a great place to start.

23 thoughts on “Parsley, Radishes and the Dangers of Comparison.

  1. Alethea, this is such a beautifully written, full of encouraging words post! It made my heart sing to read……….I could feel your love and concern for othes. 🙂 God bless you!

    p.s. and I LOVE that you grew up with so many fruit trees – so cool!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Wendi, I really appreciate your kind words. God bless you too!!!

      It was so much fun as you imagine. I especially loved the guava tree as I climbed it until I was old enough to leave my parent’s house 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, “judge not.” So THAT’S why He told us that. 🤔
    When I was in college, studying to be a teacher, we read all about differing abilities at different stages. It was all book learning until I got into the classroom. What a joy it was to discover each child! Yes, some were slower at reading or math; but the diversity of gifts was amazing to me. This boy might not be able to read as well, but he was certainly a charmer, and he loved building things with his dad. That girl was a whiz at reading, and loved to act out the stories. I soon dropped my “Oh, you didn’t go to college?” snobbery in shame because I realized that God made people so different, that there were different paths for each.
    I love your parsley and radish allegory, and the lesson you conveyed as you received from God.
    You must be such a great mommy! 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s so beautiful that we see this lesson much in children as they blossom differently. And it’s so hard for us as parents to focus on ours and forget what others might be doing, especially in this age of the ‘everything-out-there-for-you-to-see’ madness called social media. I pray that God gives me the right attitude towards these ones He has graciously asked me to steward. I doubt myself many times, Kathy, but God has a sense of humour, cos when I think I’m messing up, it’s the children who hug me and say “You’re the best mummy ever”, and I know they mean it. I am encouraged. Thanks for encouraging me. It means so much, so so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful write up and a great reminder not to compare. Sometimes we forget these things and fall into bad habits. It’s been a while I read your blog dear as I do not often get the opportunity to sit and read stuff but I’m glad I read this one. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, bonding time with the niños 🤗
    I so love this post, Tosin. Comparison is a death trap! I’m so thankful that Abba doesn’t compare His children. He knows our abilities and capabilities. He knows our beginning from our ending. We are on His timetable and all that He has for us, we shall receive 🙌🏽
    By the way, all those plants/trees you’ve described, I remember seeing when I grew up in Jamaica 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Comparison is always a losing battle. We all are unique in GOD’S eyes. Our worth is in JESUS who died for us all. We need to keep our focus on HIM and HIM alone. But we are all loved too! And let’s remember that we all are part of the Body of Christ. It is an honor to know you Sister in Christ. Blessings on you and your family during this Holy Week.

    Like

  6. This Bible verse came to mind: “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12

    Yes, we are not all the same. We don’t all read at the same speed. We don’t all excel in math and science. We don’t all have internal maps in our brains and instinctively know east from west. We don’t all remember sequences of words or numbers. Some of us get them backwards. Not everyone can do things in reverse. Some people can’t do mechanical things, like put things together and match A with B, etc. We are not all gifted at writing, or drawing, or singing, or whatever. We don’t all have green thumbs, either. And, I could go on an on. 🙂 God has made us all different. He has gifted us all differently, too.

    So, we just need to be who he made us to be. And, we have to be careful not to judge others by ourselves, by our human standards, by our culture, by our traditions, etc. The Scriptures are our standard for living, not someone else’s opinions of who we ought to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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