The Gift of Disappointment
Millions of children around the world are currently facing cancelled plans for vacations, graduations, sports competitions, performance and parties. Instead, they are given stay-at-home orders – with little or no socialising with friends. It feels horrible when something we’d been looking forward to doesn’t come to fruition.
This feeling is called disappointment.
We have all experienced being let down, from the grocery store running out of our favourite ice cream flavour, to a friend who failed to be there when we most needed. While it doesn’t feel good, we know that situations not turning out as expected is a natural and expected part of life.
However, in this everyone-gets-a-trophy generation and where parents – with their best intentions, “snowplow” their children’s futures, clearing any possible obstacles so they don’t have to encounter disappointment and failure, can rob them of the opportunity to learn some of life most important lessons.
We may not be able to always control external events and we cannot prevent adversities of life, but we can certainly CHOOSE how to properly respond to it. We can control how we think about such events, and that we always have a choice to respond by reflecting how to cope with the presented problems.
In fact, without experiencing and confronting disappointment in an appropriate manner, resiliency and wisdom cannot be instilled.
Our children will experience disappointments in relationships, get passed over for a job that they really wanted, the rain when the picnic bag is packed… Disappointment is a valuable teacher. It teaches them to evolve and adapt in ways that will serve them throughout life.
Nothing compares to the warmth of the sun on our skin after we’ve been standing in the rain, but we can only arrive here by enduring the other side. So while this pandemic is causing tremendous anxiety and disappointments, it also presents us with an exceptional opportunity to teach our children real-life lessons that will mould their character and make them stronger.