(Do this together as a family. Read the Scripture and then follow up with the questions.)

Since we’ve been in quarantine, doing school has looked a little different. Maybe a little like the picture above.

Your dad’s or mom’s work meetings might have looked like this…

Everyone is doing Zoom meetings!

 And instead of heading to someone’s house to hang out, you might be hanging out with friends via FaceTime.

What other things have you been doing online or using social media for?

Going virtual isn’t as fun as being in person, of course. But without it, we wouldn’t be able to connect with family and friends and school right now.

Social media and going online can be a good thing, but there’s one thing to remember: What you see online is only part of the real-life picture of people’s lives. There’s more going on that you don’t see and you don’t know.

What different stories do these four pictures tell?

Take a look at this picture. What do you see? 

A perfectly shaped pink flower.

Here’s what you didn’t see:

Beneath those perfectly pink flowers were wilted petals and a vase full of old water.

The first picture was only part of the real-life story. When you look at everything, things don’t look so perfect anymore.

Take a look at the picture on the right. What do you see?

Will Reeve, the reporter from Good Morning America, on the right, looks all dressed up in his suit.

Here’s what you didn’t see:

The reporter wasn’t wearing any pants! At least he had shorts on.

In the first picture, the reporter looked all dressed up and perfect. In real life, he only dressed up on the top. Not on the bottom.

The temptation to compare yourself: What you see and what you don’t

When you’re online and on social media, you only see what people want you to see. You see what they choose to show you–not the whole real-life story.

Their lives can look much better and a whole lot more fun.

You might be tempted to look at the picture of your friend on Instagram or TikTok and say, “Why does he get to have so much fun? I never get to go kayaking?” Or Sigh. “She looks like a model. I wish I had long curly hair.”

But comparison just steals away your joy and makes it easier to feel unhappy, wishing you had more or could do more.

What does Proverbs 14:30 say about comparing yourself? How about Galatians 6:4-5?

When you focus on what God gave you, how he made you, and what you can do–without looking around at everyone else–you don’t feel restless and agitated inside. When you resist the temptation to compare, you learn the secret of being content, happy with who you are.

A boy named Denton

Denton is a five-year-old boy who’s smart and fun. He has a beautiful smile. That’s what everyone sees on the outside. But his friends don’t know that his family has many problems at home. His dad has struggled to find a job. His mom has been bitter and angry. They don’t know Denton’s real-life story.

Kids like Denton need someone to pray for them. When you forget about comparing yourself with others and just love them, God can open your eyes up to their needs. You can pray for them. You can maybe even help them.

Questions to talk about together

How is what you see on (Facebook, Instagram, TV) different from real life?

What’s the real secret for being content? (See Philippians 4:12-13)

What’s one of your strengths, a special thing that you can do well?

What’s been one of funnest things you’ve done in the last (week, month, year)?

What’s one thing you can thank God for giving you?

Who do you know that may seem to be perfect (have everything or get to do everything)? How can you pray for the needs you may not see? Ask God to show you how.

2020 © Carol Garborg

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