I’m sympathetic. As a parent I know that feeling of wanting to make everything turn out great for our kids. But I also learned very early on the value of teaching them how to handle disappointments.
For our oldest son, losing at a game was a catastrophe and obviously, we knew he wasn’t going to win every game he played. As the tears would flow down his face we would point out that each game had one team losing, so everyone lost SOME of the time. We said that if losing was going to upset him this much then maybe we should think about him not playing sports. A life without baseball or soccer was certainly a terror that exceeded a life with losses on the baseball or soccer field.
The stakes are much higher on whether you get in to a particular college or not. It is very easy if you tour a highly selective college to think that the experiences it offers, world-class professors, peers from around the world, workout equipment in the dorm, foreign study programs that sound like a perfect fit — that it is the ultimate launching vehicle for you (or your son or daughter). Sometimes friends or relatives have also attended and caused you to think this is the ONLY school for you.
Who doesn’t want to see their children happy? Who doesn’t dread seeing them disappointed? But disappointments will come to them. Big stinging, rip-your-heart-out disappointments. If not college, then love, or grad school or jobs may rip their heart out and stomp on it.
We have to prepare our children as best as possible to go forth and make a good life for themselves, one that sustains and hopefully brings joy to them. But part of preparing is coaching them through disappointments. Even when those disappointments seem so unfair — being cut from the team because the coach picked his nephew instead, getting absolutely no part in the high school play, having your book proposal rejected by all the publishers in Writer’s Market 😊
My mom used to say ‘Life isn’t fair’. I always thought, ‘well it should be’. Even if ‘it should be’, it’s not. And no one wins all the time. So the biggest gift or life skill you can give your children is the ability to take losses in stride.
So…. I asked you… do you feel contempt or sympathy for Felicity Huffman?
About the author: Anne Emerick is the author of Quotes for Achievement, No-Work Spanish bilingual audiobooks and a new title, Out-of-Work to Making Money, 21 Comeback Stories Every Job Hunter Should Hear