Anything You Can Do, My Child Can Do Better

By Daniel Darling
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
BrianAJackson/iStock/Thinkstock
What do you do when you find other children saying real words, while your child is still mumbling indecipherable gobbledygook?

On a bright Thursday afternoon, my wife came home with terrible news. “Grace doesn’t know how to say ‘hippopotamus,’ but her friend Alex does.”

A frightening development. We can’t have another 2-year-old outshining our little Harvard-bound protégé, can we?

Saying the word 

So Angela and I begged and cajoled Grace to say “hip-po-pot-a-mus.” Nothing we did helped Grace pronounce that large, mud-dwelling mammal. Disappointed, we searched our stack of parenting magazines, Googled speech development and talked to veteran parenting friends.

By the end of our search, we discovered a revolutionary concept. Every child develops at her own God-given pace. We shouldn’t compare Grace to other children, including Alex — even if she is mumbling indecipherable gobbledygook and he’s quoting Dickens.

It’s you, not her 

Letting go of our expectation for her to be perfect is hard, especially in our competitive parenting culture — one that pushes children to grow up fast and graduate early. Good parenting does not stem from a what-will-people-think attitude.

A few weeks after our hippopotamus scare, Grace started talking. We didn’t use flash cards or child development DVDs. It wasn’t anything we said or did.

Something inside just clicked, and Grace began uttering almost every word we asked her to say and many we didn’t.

Grace now shouts up the stairs, “Honenneeeyyy!” when she wants to get Angela’s attention. When we’re about to leave for church, she says, “C’mon, Daddy.” And she instructs her dolls to “stop it” and “go, nigh, nigh.” She’s the chatterbox of the church nursery and the entertainment at family gatherings. Angela is not afraid to say, “hi,” “bye” or “see ya” to complete strangers. But to this day, she can’t say “hippopotamus.”

Updated 2016; copyright © 2007 by Daniel Darling. Used by permission.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.