A truck galavanting towards a head, a big toe with teeth marks – these days jealousy is all the rage in our house.
It shouldn’t surprise me as much as it does. Our oldest son was used to undivided attention, constant praise and having parents on demand. But now the child to parent ratio has been leveled, and Bronson’s desires simply don’t outweigh Oliver’s needs.
It’s no wonder jealousy is called a green monster.
Normally adorable and affectionate, Bronson transforms into a mini-monster and erupts in outrage at Oliver. Now that Oliver interacts and grips toys on occasion, Bronson has decided he’s a threat. But all his jealous outbursts do is hinder his relationships with everyone around him.
We have to remove him from his brother’s presence or sometimes even force him to sit by himself because his jealousy isn’t loving. His jealousy isn’t kind. And even when he manages to keep his displeasure below the surface, his jealousy results in him wondering off by himself and choosing to be alone in a huff.
When I get together with people, though, I quickly realize it’s not just the two year olds who have jealousy issues. We envy each other’s vehicles, strollers, car seats, clothes. We envy the way other children behave. We envy other people’s relationships. We envy other people’s jobs and paychecks. Just about everything is up for envy.
But all it really does is keep us alone.
We hesitate to invite people over because we’ve seen their bigger house. We hesitate to go to a play group because we’ve seen their better-behaved kids. We avoid conversations about our own jobs, our own marriages, our own lives because we’ve decided people around us are better off than ourselves. We’ve decided they must be snobs or judgmental because we envy them. We consider them a threat to our carefully constructed self-confidence. But the truth is we’re the ones judging. We’re the ones that are jealous.
And so we’re the ones alone.
I hope Bronson learns that being jealous of his brother only results in him not being near his brother, that his envy and frustration only results in a lack of quality time and trust and joy and love between them.
I hope he learns young that jealousy is a monster capable to consuming everything life has to offer.