After dinner the other night, Ben had something weighing on his mind. He told me that he felt funny about some of the kids in his class because he wasn't "even with them" -- that he was "lower" than them.
Ben is in third grade and almost nine years old. He has no feelings of inadequacy about money or class because we don't. There are wealthy and not so wealthy kids in Ben's class who are obsessed with money because their parents are. That world has never touched Ben because he's so loved and satisfied with his family and his life. I'm happy to add that no one in his class has ever said hurtful things to him in that regard.
But last week they went to the Tenement Museum and I suppose some children were aghast at the thought of living in such a small space. Our apartment isn't much more than 450 square feet - but it's provided Ben with 1 million square feet of happiness.
He said he thought it wasn't fair that some kids live in big big houses and other kids didn't. I explained to him that life is inherently "uneven". Some kids live in big houses, some live in small houses - - some kids don't have a home.
Just like some kids (like Ben) are super smart and great at drawing, while it take other kids in his class a little longer to grasp new concepts. Some kids in his class are healthy or great athletes, while some feel they are far too short, too slow or have long term medical problems. Some kids don't have a mommy and daddy in the same house living together, some do.
All kids have something they feel "uneven" about because everyone comes to the table with a unique story of who they are. Our job is to make everyone feel okay about who they are.
Then he got teary eyed and said "but mommy when you live in New York no one likes you when you love the Red Sox like me and daddy do."
He got me there........