We all compare ourselves with others. It's inevitable.
But as Dave and I were comparing notes about the Funfair and saw how different our views of the same events were (he saw it as a disaster, I saw it as a success), it got me thinking about how I need to keep that in mind when I'm talking to other families.
There are lots of inspirational stories, especially at this time of year. They usually have the opposite effect on me, because my kids aren't doing as well as the kids in the stories. But who's to say that things are going as well as is being presented.
Right after Nathan was diagnosed, we were in a newspaper article on the importance of early identification and intervention for children with autism. As part of the article, it mentioned how Alex, then 5, was in a regular school and playing soccer. It sounded very normal.
Of course, most of his day at school was spent in the Quiet Zone because he would get aggressive if any demands were put on him. And his participation in soccer consisted of being on the same field as the other kids and kicking the ball into the woods if it came anywhere near him. Not exactly the success story being painted in the paper.
I don't want to diminish Alex's accomplishments or challenges but I've learned how wide a gap the presentation and wording can make. Without saying anything untrue, how something is said can influence a broad range of assumptions. What I need to remember is that other people do that as well.