Can we have an honest conversation about disappointments? 

I’ve been dealing with it a lot lately and I figured most of you have had a fair amount of disappointments in your life as well.  I’m not talking about “darn it’s raining outside” type of disappointments but the tough almost heartbreaking ones.  The ones where you put your whole heart into a goal and work really hard for a desired outcome and it. just. didn’t. happen.

Those type of disappointments are really tough to deal with as an adult. While it may sting a bit, we’ve learned to take one on the chin and hopefully move on with a great life lesson. 

But what do you do to help your kids overcome those big disappointments.  For some kids, it may be losing the big game by one point after working so hard all season (which just happened last night by the way) or not making a certain grade after struggling with a particular subject or not making the team or not getting accepted to the school of their choice.

For my son, it was losing a chance to go to the White House.  Now, some of you may say “big whoop… there are bigger problems in this world”.  That may be true, but let me provide a little bit of context…

I believe in teaching kids to dream big and to reach for the stars.  This opportunity was the biggest dream my kid has ever dreamed.  He was born in 2008 and our president is the only one he has ever known.  He has been inspired by him in so many ways.  In fact, during the election for his second term, at 4-years-old, my son was inspired to run for class president of his Pre-K class.  Yep that’s right…Pre-K Class President!  On election day, he dressed the part and rallied his fellow 4-year-old classmates to vote for him:

Dealing with Disappointment

So years later when we learned about kids having a chance to go to the White House, we were all over it.  Each year, PBS hosts a Healthy Lunchtime Challenge where kids ages 8-13 can submit a healthy recipe for a chance to attend a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.  We first learned about it last year when my little chef was just 7-years-old.  He was so motivated that we recreated one of the winning recipes from 2015:

Fabulous Fish Tacos

This year, he was finally old enough to submit and guess what…. He made it to the finals!  That’s right my little chef was a finalist in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.  That means that out of the thousands of kids that submitted an entry, his recipe was selected as one of the top three for our state.  We had to submit an affidavit, agree to a background check and take a picture to be used for publication in the event he was chosen:   IMG_1137

For two months, my little man was on cloud 9 at the belief that his biggest dream could actually come true.  Then just last week, we found out via email that he had not been selected.  Big Disappointment! Watching him sob, knowing how hard he worked and how much he wanted it was just as hard on me.

So as a parent, what do you do?  How do you help your kid deal with heartbreak while feeling helpless yourself.   Here’s what I did….

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  • Proud Dad

    I am so proud of Julian. As a father, it’s hard seeing your child work so hard, anticipate so much and know that something is within his grasp only to lose it or not get chosen. I remember when my son was three years old and the string of a red balloon he had just gotten slipped out of his hands. He was crying his eyes out as he jumped for the balloon but it kept floating up higher and higher. That’s similar to the feeling now. I’m proud for Sous Chef Mommy for helping him work through his feeling and channeling his energy into something positive that he can build on. Thank you Step Stool Chef & Sous Chef Mommy for your honesty, hard work and inspiration to kids AND parents!
    – Proud Dad

  • Julie Chisum

    I’m so proud of you Toria! You did the right thing and thanks for inspiring me with this awesome blog article. I love what you are doing with Step Stool Chef. What a special mompreneur you are! Hope all is well! JC

    • Sous Chef Mommy

      Thanks so much Julie… Your words mean a lot!

  • Lashawndra

    Awesome article and congratulations on making it as far as you did for the last two years. So proud of you two! Yes, helping your child through their journey of disappointment is no easy feat. Just a couple of weeks ago my daughter got sick the day of her dance performance. It was one that she’d work so hard all year long for – she was so excited to perform. “No performance” per Dr orders, so it was heartbreaking when the tears came streaming down. Through this experience she’s gained a sense of gratitude for being healthy and able bodied and a big lesson on the grit it will take in life to stand back up even when it pushes you down. We created an opportunity for my daughter to perform for the family and just for fun, we’re supporting our former dance academy family tonight at their annual performance.

    • Sous Chef Mommy

      Oh no! Missing big performances are a big deal. But you are so right about the lessons disappointments can provide. And how sweet of you to create a family performance. Wish I was there!

  • Ashanti Brinson

    Loving this post Toria. A real experience for real parenting. I am approaching that stage where my son will begin to truly experience life’s disappointments – turning 3 tomorrow. I will keep these ideas in mind particularly the part about empathizing and not rushing them through their sadness. #grownuplife #soproudofyou

    • Sous Chef Mommy

      Happy Birthday to your little man!! Isn’t it funny how fast 3 years go by. Yes this is definitely grown-up life and a reminder that I’m going to have to deal with more complicated things as he gets older. It will make you miss those moments when ending play time was his biggest disappointment.

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About the Chef!

Chef Julian has had a love for cooking since the age of 3. Now as the CEO and Head Kid Chef of The Step Stool Chef, he is focused on empowering kids to be leaders in the kitchen. Chef Julian has been featured on the covers of magazines, newspapers as well as made guest appearances on all major TV networks, conferences and food festivals and is known for his fun & easy approach to cooking.

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