“there’s only one in this wonderful world, you are special”

Hello. My name is Erin and I’ve become obsessed with Fred Rogers.

It’s not really a problem (though one night after leaving my in-laws’ house with my husband, his Mom remarked on how nice he looked in his cardigan and I responded with “I love it too! It reminds me of Mister Rogers!” and he responded with “Yeeeah, we’re a strange couple.” That gave me pause…), it’s more of a hobby-that-I-can’t-stop-thinking-reading-watching-all-of-the-time. THANKS, CATE.

But this post isn’t about what I’ve learned so far and how I’m implementing it into programming. It’s about something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately in regards to the dreaded comparison game I play.

I spend entirely too much time and energy thinking about all of the things I wish I could do. I’d love to offer an afterschool STEAM-y program like Katie or Kelly. I wish I could get a giant dance scrunchie like Lisa for use in storytime. Hell, I wish I could sing a hello song at the beginning of storytime where we greet every child by name.

There are just things I can’t do at my library. I routinely have 30-40 toddlers in my storytimes so a hello song that greets all of them? There goes at least 10 minutes of storytime. My library does not like to require registrations for programs so an afterschool STEAM program would be really challenging to plan and execute because I might have 75 kids show up and I can’t fit that many kids in our children’s activity room let alone try and guess how much to purchase for supplies. I also know I struggle with crowd control when it comes to school aged kids. I have a Rainbow Magic Fairy program coming up and I’m terrified I’m going to have to manage 60 kids.

I just broke out into a cold sweat thinking about it.

My coworker, Anne, has this amazing singing voice. So, when we did a Frozen sing along program? Anne was the best choice. She also agreed to dress up in an enormous hoop skirted princess dress to do it so she RULES. She’s waaaaay better when it comes to school aged crowd control than I am, she kicks ass at finding the right books for kids of all ages and her preschool storytimes are fantastic.

While 60 school aged kids (COLD SWEAT AGAIN!) is nightmare inducing for me, 30 toddlers and their caregivers? No problem. A process art program for 18 mos-5 year olds with caregivers where all of a sudden everyone has abandoned their art in favor of playing with fiberfill? I can roll with that and still talk to caregivers about what their children are learning through this play experience. I’m great at school tours, I love giving book talks to all ages, I can put together and present a killer presentation for parents about how to read with their children.

When I peruse the 9672 youth services blogs I follow, I tend to forget that not only do people have individual talents, but  libraries are unique to their communities too. I might want to offer all of the amazing things I’m seeing from other people, but they might not be right for my community. I need to keep my library’s mission statement in mind. I need to keep my community in mind. And I need to remember there are limitations to what we can do.

YOU have amazing talents. YOU provide amazing programs for your community. The internet has opened up the ability to share and learn from each other, but it can be a double edged sword sometimes. Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you. It’s a waste of precious energy and time. It offers you nothing but insecurity and doubt. I love my PLN and I know they support me. They don’t want me to compare myself to them. They are there cheering me on.

So, when you’re feeling like you’re not doing enough or your programs aren’t as “good” as someone else or you’ve jumped down the rabbit hole of self doubt, consider listening to this song.

It always makes me feel better.

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3 thoughts on ““there’s only one in this wonderful world, you are special”

  1. Dear Erin, RELAX… Good and better are wonderful… ” Perfect ” is a pursuit for those who are small minded in their view of this wonderful world and never was meant to be your preoccupation. Sweat the big stuff not the small stuff… and all will be fine for Holland (and you)! Tom

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Thanks for having the courage to post stuff like this. I feel like since the New Year my blog feed has all just been a much needed group hug. I’m thinking about posting something similar soon– I randomly met a fan of my blog this weekend, and it just made me think: THIS is who I write for. You all in my PLN are great, too, but truly, there’s a whole world of people who follow our blogs who are almost too afraid to approach us in public. And they especially need to hear stuff like this, and that’s some serious shizz.

    • I sometimes feel like I’M one of those people! As Midwinter approaches, I’m having this huge range of emotions from excitement to anxiety over meeting people who I follow on twitter or whose blogs I’ve been reading for years. GROUP HUG INDEED!

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