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:
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:
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:
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….