Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Accepting Disappointment

Disappointment is a hard thing for me to accept. I tend to like getting what I want. But the hard truth is that I don't always get what I want. As a matter of fact, I often don't get what I want. It's part of life. From the time we're born until our last days we will meet with disappointment. Have you ever noticed how some people seem to be able to accept disappointment and keep moving forward better than others? They have probably had a lot of practice and good guidance.

We can help our children and grandchildren to better accept disappointment while they are young by allowing them to experience it. I think this can be especially hard for us grandparents.  Allowing children to experience disappointment doesn't mean we cause it and I'm not referring to devastation here either. Allowing children to experience small disappointments and teaching them how to accept those little disappointments, trains them to better deal with the bigger disappointments they will experience later in life. So often we want to shield children from disappointment so we try to prevent it or make them forget it by giving them something much bigger and better. Often when there is more than one child we try to make everything "fair" by making it equal, but equal isn't necessarily fair or what is best.

Dealing with disappointment is generally a matter of redirecting our focus in some way. At the center of disappointment is usually "self" so a part of overcoming disappointment is redirecting our focus from "self" to "other". When my three little granddaughters come over they often want to play Webkinz. Since they all want to be first we have a rotation setup so that each time they come over someone else is first. They spend a few minutes talking about who was first last time and working out what the new line-up is every time. As they do this, they are working through the disappointment and learning to accept it as well as learning to place a little more focus on the others.

Disappointment generally involves a loss so offsetting that with some sort of gain or joy can help to train children to look for something positive in the midst of disappointment. In the above example, the one who is last gets a little more time on Webkinz than the other two. This provides a little disappointment and a little joy to both the first and last position as well as making things a little unequal for all of them. I have noticed that the one who is last will sometimes remind herself that she gets a little more time instead of dwelling on not being first.

Life isn't fair and it isn't equal. We all face disappointments but we can learn to view life and disappointment from God's perspective and teach our children to do the same.

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross... Hebrews 12:2

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:3

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Talkin' Texan said...

Very good post from a smart grandmother. We've all tasted disappointment, and no matter how many times, it never gets sweet. You are wise to train the little ones in how to deal with the bitterness of life.

Stacey Dawn said...

Very well written Edie! How awesome is it of the "last" to remember to look for the joy!

Beth in NC said...

Great post. When I feel disappointed, I can always start naming my blessings and realize how truly blessed I am.

God bless you today!

Angel Muly said...

I love this post. You are so right about letting our kids and grandkids feel a little disappointment. I have know people to shield their kids so much that they can't handle the least little thing when they grow up. I am not too fond of disappointment, but I love finding the joy at the end!!
Love and Blessings, Angel

RCUBEs said...

So true. We can't protect our children from suffering losses and disappointments. Even God didn't promise a good life here as believers. But I always remind myself of John16:33, as I go through my own trials or disappointments, that Jesus had already overcome the world. Even when feeling down, I must rejoice knowing that our Savior granted victory with our faith in Him! Great words today sister. God bless you.

Stacy Wittkamp said...

We learn more from our defeats and disappointments than our successes. In fact success is so much sweeter, when we have persevered through prior setbacks.
It's easy as a parent to want to try to keep your child from experiencing disappointment, but in doing so we are really impeding their growth.
Great reminder!

From the Heart said...

A good post. I always struggled with that when my girls were growing up. One needed more of my attention than the other and I always felt guilty. I never wanted to disappoint the other one but was a special person. She always told me not to worry about her to take care of her sister. But did they both learn how to deal with disappointment, I guess I'll never know.
Blessings, AE

Nezzy said...

Amen sister, I totally's called developing coping skills!

God bless ya and have a terrific Thursday!!!

Warren Baldwin said...

I've recently read that it is a parents job to disappoint their kids. The author meant that by teaching children they couldn't have everything they wanted, and by depriving them of wrong or dangerous decision (when little), we would disappoint them, and such is as it should be. And as someone else said above, from the disappointment they can learn to overcome setbacks and puruse something better. Good post.