Over the past 8 days my son has experienced what he would call disappointment. Although he won his school’s Spelling Bee and was one of 37 students in the County Bee he became distraught when he was eliminated on a word he never misspelled.
A week later he was removed from his basketball game because the person tracking the fouls somehow had him marked down for five fouls when he clearly had only fouled twice (even the ref said it and the director later apologized). Because he was so dominant during this game the parents from the other team started cheering when he was walking off of the court ( I know classy right…not). Do you know what my son did before he begin to tear up due to the inaccurate call? He turned to the parents gave them a smile and a thumbs up. (Now that was classy).
As a parent you hate it when your child feels any type of negative emotion or pain. And although I nurtured him and assured him that in both circumstances it would be okay, there is a part of me that was glad that my honor roll student, class president, and all around great child was experiencing some opportunities to overcome disappointment early on.
The lessons that come out of these opportunities set him up for the real world. Life is not always fair and neither are people. Sometimes you deal with inept people that will negatively impact you. Despite your best effort the outcome may not always be favorable. Sometimes the pressures of life can cause you to misstep (or in his case misspell). The feelings that accompany defeat don’t last forever. You can get over bad situations by focusing on other things ( and a calzone from Mellow Mushroom pizza can help too).
As someone who experienced failures and disappointments much later in life and almost allowed them to throw me off track I can appreciate that his experiences are much earlier. He will be much more resilient than I. He will understand that when things don’t go right it is not always about you. Sometimes outside forces can derail our best laid plans. Oh and here’s a big one- there are always others who are working on their craft just as hard, if not harder than you- so don’t get complacent. When you meet opposition grin and give a thumbs up because there is always next time. Teaching these lessons early will create more stable adults who are ready to take on a competitive world. They will understand that success is not always in the trophy, higher score or other accolades. Sometimes success is in knowing that you have done your best, participating in meaningful experiences and relishing in the fact you know how to spell 2,000 more words than you could two months prior.