Empowering Our Children Through Disappointment

Empowering Our Children Through Disappointment

I just heard a report on the evening news about a single mother who complained enough about the father/daughter dance at her child’s school that she got it banned.

I’m speechless.

Wait, I’m not.

Are we creating survivors of our children—are we empowering them to overcome the hardships they may face in life—or are we coddling them against things that might sting a little at the time, but will ultimately teach them valuable lessons?

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I can surely sympathize with this woman.

She’s hurting for her daughter and hoping to take that hurt away, but to do so, she took away a thing of joy to many others.  The world just shouldn’t work that way. It doesn’t work that way, and we can’t give our children the false impression otherwise.

We have them for 18 short years, and in that time, we’ve got to love, protect—and, sure, maybe spoil ’em a teeny bit—but ultimately our job is to prepare our children for life.

Real life.

We need to guide them to become independent and capable adults: helping them develop an inner strength goes hand-in-hand with that goal.

Quite often, life is unfair.

Quite often, it’s messy and it makes our hearts ache.

Quite often, Little Suzy Yahoo has something Little Sarah Sweetie doesn’t, and Sarah Sweetie has to learn to persevere. She will be stronger for it. She will have character.

What is the lesson that little girl would learn, you ask?

I’m not sure.

Maybe it’s that even though her dad’s not present—for whatever unfortunate reason—there are men in her life who love her and can step in.

Or maybe it’s that while she may be disappointed that she won’t attend this particular event, she can spend some special time with her loving mom doing something else instead.

I’m sure everyone wishes this little one had a daddy to escort her. I certainly do, but this is the hand she’s been dealt, and her mom needs to help her play it with strength and grace.

What do you think, my friends?

All in Good Time

All in Good Time

My mom made me take organ lessons for 12 straight years.Focuz

Yes, the organ.

Yes, 12 straight years.

Well, maybe it was 8 … could’ve been six … but it sure as heck felt like 12.

I wanted to play the piano, but the woman loved a good Wurlitzer, so that’s what we went with. To this day, I have a quick and physical reaction to the first few chords of “I Just Called To Say I Love You” or “Gloria.”

So you’d think I would be very, very sensitive about NOT pushing my own agenda on my son, but that’s a line that I absolutely came close to crossing recently.

It was all about a bike.

He’d recently outgrown his toddler bike, and The Man and I thought it was time for him to try his hand at ditching the training wheels.

The Boy on The Bike

And The Boy seemed game, for the most part. Not overly enthused, but game.

We took him to a nearby school, raised the training wheels so he could get a feel for balancing, and set him free on the hardtop. So far so good.

10 minutes into it, he said he was ready to take the training wheels off. The Man lifted the bike into the back of his truck, removed the wheels with a few flicks of the wrist, and we headed for the grass.

We encouraged, cheered him on, told him there was no rush, and seriously, after maybe 45 seconds of his dad pushing him, The Boy yelled “Let go!” and took off, like he’d been riding all his life. We were overjoyed, and he was, too. Until he wasn’t. After a short while, he got off, and called it a day. Clearly his body was ready for this new milestone, but his heart just wasn’t into it.

Nothing inside him clicked into gear with an “Oh, man I had no idea what I was missing!”

Nope. He’d done what we’d asked him to do, and now he wanted to go home, and I couldn’t have been more deflated. We told him what a great job he’d done, and packed him up to head back, but I was bummed that he didn’t want to get right back on and ride.

He’s just not that kid at the moment, which is not to say that he never will be, and why I was having trouble with that, or putting pressure on him to take this next step, well, I just don’t know.

What I do know is he’s a boy who likes to walk barefoot through the neighboring field toting a backpack full of marbles and a stuffed blue dog. He likes to play “spy” with his friends and pretend he’s the real deal by flashing his secret service badge whenever he has the chance. And he’s convinced that some Hollywood director will call him after seeing his cool kitchen dance moves and ask him to star in his next big-budget film.

I love him for all that and so much more, and that’s beyond enough for me.  And unless he says he wants to,

he will not play the organ.

Aaaah, Spring…

SpringQuote2inFOLIO Research Group

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