No two fingerprints are the same. No two snowflakes are alike. The same is true of human beings. God created each of us to be individual, unique, and special. The Bible says that we are, “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
I am one of three daughters. Each of us sisters is different.
Growing up, my eldest sister enjoyed reading books by famous authors like Jane Austin and Charles Dickens. She enjoyed watching girly chick-flicks like, “You’ve Got Mail” and “Anne of Green Gables”. To this day, she’d rather watch, “Downtown Abbey” then a suspense movie or a crime show. Blood and gore “gross her out”, and I’m pretty sure she never desired to become a cop or a neurosurgeon. Floppy hats, cute sandals, and ribbons. Short in stature, my eldest sister frequently wore her hair around her ears or down to her shoulders. Smart, fun, creative and the brains in the family, Kristen was “all girl”. So, how did she “turn out”? Well, this level headed sister of mine is now a wife, a mother of four beautiful daughters (all currently under the age of five), and a teacher to her growing brood. She is impacting future generations with her love and wisdom by training her children to walk, “in the way they should go”. Her interests haven’t changed too drastically over the years, they’ve just expanded to include sunflower decor, teapots, baby clothes, and toddler crafts.
My middle sister has been a trauma junkie, a fashion lover, and an avid writer for most of her life. On any given day, she could be found with an over-sized textbook in her lap memorizing long lists of medical terminology. She spent hours watching YouTube videos featuring sports injuries, medical emergencies, and nurse training tutorials. The more gruesome the injury the more excited she got. Movies that didn’t feature trips to the ER were considered dull. Sports games that didn’t end with torn ACL’s and muscle cramps were equally disappointing to observe. Growing up, my middle sister, would spend hours each week journaling, writing poems, and penning dozens of short stories. A born horse lover, Jessica would rather be out in a pasture saddling up a horse that eating a three course meal at a fancy restaurant. As a girl, she loved trying new hairstyles, shopping for clothes, and skimming through beauty magazines. Tall, with long, gold hair, her nickname could have been “Rapunzel”. Bobby pins, hairspray, and makeup, she added a bit of glamour to our home. Sweet, compassionate, and missions-minded, Jessica is the most loving person I know. Sensitive, kind, and the heart of our home, she possesses the ability to calm even the tensest of situations. What is she up to these days? Saving lives and making a difference of course. My middle sister works at an assistant living facility where she is a CNA, a certified med tech, a receptionist, and a 911 caller for her facility. She aids in as many medical emergencies as she can as is always ready to jump right in and save the day-or a life-as needed.
And then, there was me, the one with the split personality. Not sure which term best describes me, but the words: “Wild”, “stubborn”, and “un-tameable” have popped up in conversation a time or two. I love adventure and action. Crime shows and murder mysteries have always made up my favorite genre of both movies and books. I sip tea while watching videos of autopsies, I read books on forensics and criminology and I love tinkering under the hood of a car. Motorcycles, trucks, knives, and black leather jackets are all “up my alley”. As a girl (and even now-shhh don’t tell), I dreamed of becoming a crime scene investigator, a police woman, or a forensic photographer. About that split personality thing, I also like quilts, blue and white China dishes, wearing aprons, and decorating my room in a retro 1940’s decor. School has, “never been my thing”- which is actually pretty humorous considering how I turned out. [Keep reading if you are curious]. Growing up, I always preferred being outside,working with my hands, or just plain getting dirty. Even if I wasn’t allergic to makeup, I’d still rather have car grease smeared on my face then eye-shadow and concealer. How did I “turn out”? I struggled through grade school and managed (by the grace of God and through the many prayers of my loved ones) to graduate college with a degree in Education. Always one for variety, I’ve participated in a police ride-along, helped (in a small way) to put away an individual for second degree murder, observed a few court cases, taken some classes in an auto diesel program, and now I teach preschool.
Three girls. Three different personalities. Three different “results”.
Maybe you’re a teacher working in a traditional school setting, or a Mom educating your children at home. The average American classroom has twenty four students. And the average American family has 3.14 people living in it (I’m not sure which person counts as the .14, but that’s what the statistics show). With no two individuals being “bent the same”, you may find yourself standing in front of a class filled with future doctors, lawyers, teachers, parents, and law-enforcement officers. Or, you may find yourself parenting an artist, a mechanic, or a future chemical engineer.
Do you ever wonder why Bobby can’t make the same grade as Mary? Or why Tom likes getting dirty and Joe carries around a bottle of hand sanitizer in his back pants pocket? Two kids. Same parents. Same teachers. Same textbooks. And yet, they turn out different. David becomes a soldier while Jane becomes a counselor.
So, what’s the answer to this “problem”? Simple. There is no “problem”. No two people are alike because God has a different plan for each one of us.
I personally have no desire to operate on someone’s brain, but my medically minded sister might one day attempt something like that. My creative, fun sister wouldn’t be caught dead in a morgue [did you like that pun?], but I can totally see myself being a forensic photographer and photographing corpses. Jessica wants to help save lives, I want to help bring justice to those who have lost theirs, and Kristen wants to train others to serve God with their lives. The three of us lived together, had the same teacher (for every grade), shared the same parents, went to the same church, and were taught the same things. So, why didn’t we turn out the same? Because God wanted Kristen to become a Mom and a teacher, Jessica to be a CNA and a med tech, and for me to be a mechanic and a school teacher.
We can’t all be doctors, or teachers, or even Moms and Dads. God gives each of us different hopes, dreams, and desires. He gives us different talents, abilities, fears, and limitations. We are all “wired differently”. We all have different opportunities and different futures.
What about you? What about your kids? Or, what about your students?
You may have heard that line: “Different isn’t bad it’s just different”, ( I think it’s from a chick flick but I’ll have to double check with my sister). It’s true. Different isn’t bad.
The student in your class that can’t sit still for five minutes? They may never excel at reading, but they just might become a great athlete that goes on to the Olympics or goes Pro, earns millions, and donates thousands to charity. The child that doodles on every test paper or experiments with markers on your living room wall, may be the next Thomas Kinkaid or Rembrandt. The kid that hums through math class or sings the same song a hundred times (between Walmart and home), in the backseat of your mini van, may be a Celine Deon or a Frank Sinatra in the making.
My point? If you’re a parent or a teacher. Don’t try to produce cookie cutter kids. Accept the fact that no two children are alike. Focus on each student’s strengths. Find the areas where they excel and motivate them to use their interest, talents, and abilities for God.
Life isn’t about being like the guy sitting next to you. It’s about being who God created you to be and fulfilling the calling that God places on your life.
As teachers, or parents, we do our children a disservice when we try to mold them into being something or someone that they are not. I’m not saying don’t help them in their “weak areas”, I’m saying don’t become frustrated and discouraged when a student consistently fails in one subject, because they just might excel in another.
An then, there is you. Enjoy being who God created YOU to be. Take a few minutes and think about the talents, abilities, and opportunities that God has given you. What is your passion? Yours, not someone else. What do you want to do with your life? How might God use you? Maybe He has “bent you” in one particular direction because that’s the direction He wants you to head in. And the same with your children. Find which way they are “bent”, encourage them, train them, and then sit back and watch how God uses them.
Don’t compare yourself and don’t compare others. Be yourself and allow others to be who God created them to be. Remember, no matter what anyone says, God says that you are special. He loved you so much that He sent His Son to die for you- regardless of who “you” are.