The Stories We Tell

January 19, 2015 / Leadership / 4 Comments

Good Morning and Happy Monday!

It’s 6:47 am at the family dining table – last Thursday morning. 12-year old twin boys eating breakfast, mom drinking tea.

Jadon says, “I think I’d be a really good architect.”


Mom, “I bet you would!”

Jadon thinks for a moment and then says, “but I’m not very good at math – so maybe I can’t do that”

** sigh **

I mean, REALLY heavy sigh.

Mom (that’s me) is thinking, boy this kid has been running this racket all his life – and what a bunch of baloney! But what to do? Then I think about his twin – Kieran – who is all boy, gentle, sensitive, funny, strong, confident, brilliant, an extraordinary student, and very happy.

(I guess that could be nauseating if you’re the brother-eh!?)

The thing is that Jadon is all those things too – except for confident.

So I remembered a story and I shared it with the boys:

“Hey guys, have you ever heard this story?

When You two were about 3 and Isaac, (their big brother) was 8, you boys, and your Dad and I were in the car for a little road trip.”

“To keep Isaac busy, we were quizzing him on simple 3rd grade math problems – you know, like 100 ÷ 20 and 3 × 6 and so on.  We’d played this game before – and so when Kieran popped out the first answer – we thought he had memorized the answer and gotten lucky.”

“But after he got the right answer 10 times in a row before Isaac did, we began to wonder if he was one of those savants or something.” (Turns out, he isn’t).

Turns out, he is just truly gifted in math.

You see, Jadon is good at math – really good at it. But he perceives himself as not good at it, because Kieran is better at math than he is. …  OY!

I continued with the story to say.

You see Kieran, Jadon, what’s interesting about all this is that two years later, when you guys were both in Kindergarten – at the first parent teacher conference, Kieran’s teacher told me, “he’s a nice kid, well-behaved, a little shy and quiet, but he is doing well.” And Jadon, your teacher began the conference with this, “Jadon is gifted, you need to get him evaluated.”

I let that sink in a bit – and then I asked Jadon, “Is Isaac tall?” (Isaac is 6’2”).

Of course, Jadon said, Yes.


How about Michael Jordan (6’6”) is he tall? Well, YA (really mom, duh).

How about Shaquille O’Neal? Have you ever seen Michael Jordan stand next to Shaq? Shaq’s 7’1”!!!! Makes Jordan look short doesn’t he?

Yes, Mom – I know.

Did you know that Michael Jordan is 4 INCHES taller than Isaac is?

That stopped him – he thought about that.

Can you imagine how short Isaac would look next to Shaq?

Meanwhile, I could see Kieran furiously focused on his cereal hiding his grin. He was loving it – because if there is anything worse than being jealous of your brother, it is being the brother that your brother is jealous of.

I said to Jadon, Listen son, comparing yourself in math to Kieran is like calling Isaac short next to Shaq. It’s just his natural gifting. You are very very good at math – and certainly good enough at math to be anything you want to be – an architect, physicist, engineer – whatever you want!

Jadon’s face was flushed, and he wore a small smile. I thought perhaps the message was sinking in.

c03-33Here’s the coolest part – that day, Jadon had some math evaluations that I did not even know about. He got perfect scores on all of them!

How we show up in the world really is created from the inside out. Sometimes our children are the best reminders of that!

I wonder for you, If your inside game is creating the outside reality you truly want?

To your continued brilliance!



  1. patrice

    January 19, 2015
    / Reply

    Team members are like that --when given opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways, or to professionally "stretch" or given the green light to show a bit more of themselves ....

  2. admin

    January 20, 2015
    / Reply

    Thank you Patrice!

  3. Bob Bennett

    January 20, 2015
    / Reply

    This is so true, and handled expertly. We had the same issue with our daughters (not twins, though) who both are blessed with amazing capabilities, but in different areas. Our youngest, however, always compared herself to her older sister in the things that the older one excelled in. Our approach was to make the younger aware of the things she did better than her sister, and see how they complemented each other. Together they were 'a perfect team.' It worked - thanks for the lesson.

    • admin

      January 21, 2015
      / Reply

      Thank you Bob for your comments. This issue of comparing ourselves to siblings is perennial. I suppose we live best when we navigate this 'rivalry' experience with an eye for the gift it might contain. Personal excellence? Self-awareness? Acceptance?

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