Thursday, July 6, 2017

It is OK for Your Children to Experience Disappointment

Hi Everyone,

So, do you remember when I shared this card last Friday and mentioned I was on vacation? Well...guess what? I'm not on vacation anymore. Due to some unforeseen and rather unfortunate mechanical issues with our vehicle, we were forced to turn around and come home. This was, however, after an unscheduled stop in a CA small town where the temperature hovered around 112. We sat in a hotel room, waited until the temperature cooled to an almost winter like 87 degrees at 11pm and drove the 4 hours home.  The trip had started out so well, the kids were all excited and were playing the scavenger hunt and bingo games. We had made a stop and visited the Calico Ghost Town and then the trouble began...
We were all disappointed, as we had been looking forward to visiting with our family and friends over the July 4th holiday. My daughter was especially disappointed as she had several plans in motion with her friends. As her mom, I hated that she was disappointed; but I also know and stand by our decision that postponing our trip for a later time was the best thing for us to do.
All of that got me to thinking about the role that disappointment plays in our children's lives. As parents we hate to see our children disappointed by something. It goes against our natural instinct to want to protect them and for them to always be happy. However, experiencing disappointment is not only inevitable, it is a necessary part of growing into adulthood for several reasons:

1. It forces them to realize hard work is necessary. Getting a bad grade on a test, striking out in a baseball game or forgetting the steps in a dance routine are all things that make kids feel disappointed, probably embarrassed and want them to crawl under the nearest rock. However, all of those types of experiences forces kids to realize they are not perfect. In addition, it makes them realize that successes aren't just handed out in life. If you want to do get into a good college, you need good SAT scores and good grades etc. To get those things, you need to study and work hard. To be a good baseball player and a good dancer, you have to practice. It is important that kids learn this and sometimes the best way rise to the top is to fall to the bottom a couple of times.

2. It allows them to develop a better strategy and plan for better success later.  When my daughter got her SAT scores this past spring, she was slightly disappointed. Not devastatingly so; but enough for her to go back and reevaluate what she did that was wrong, what worked, what didn't and what she can do better to improve her scores when she takes it again in the Fall. Getting a perfect score on the SAT or a test is fabulous and not to be undermined in any way; but learning from a disappointment is immeasurably valuable as well.

3. It gives them the opportunity to look for the good in things. Disappointment is often just a cloud that blocks the sunshine and sometimes you have to shift your gaze slightly to appreciate the shadow it casts. While it is natural to think of the shadows and clouds as negative forces in our lives, they also provide shade on a summer day, clouds that turn into rain provide the water necessary to continue the cycle of life. The same can be said about disappointing life experiences. The soul-crushing break up with a boyfriend or a girlfriend is a dark unhappy time especially the first time it happens. However, that break up is really the opportunity not to think about what's wrong with you; but what is right and just needs to wait for the right person to come along and share it and deserve it.

4. It gives them a reason to continue to hope. There's a saying that disappointment is only the result of high expectations. I don't agree with this because I think expectations are a form of hope and if you give up hope, then the world becomes a sad place. A perfect example of this is our recently cancelled trip. Yes the kids were all disappointed, however we also talked about perhaps going at Christmas and our family ....especially my daughter....loves Christmas with all the snow and cold, hot chocolate and family and food. Hope is always good...always.

Life is full of great joys and wonderful surprises; and it is also peppered with heartache and disappointments...that's just the way it is; and the best thing we can do is feed our souls with the lessons they all teach us.


Golden Goddess Designs said...

well said, you hate it for your kids, but you are correct...lessons are learned by failure and disappointment.

Lori said...

I agree - very well said!

cotnob said...

I totally agree Dori, it's not nice to be disappointed but important lessons can be learnt - I think your final paragraph sums it up perfectly.
Pauline - Crafting with Cotnob

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