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Teaching our Children Life Lessons

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  1. AnnMarie says:

    My heart hurt reading this. I’m so sorry your mom isn’t coming. Is it postponed or indefinitely? I feel the same way as you. I can deal with disappointment. I don’t like it but my life’s circumstances have hardened me a bit so I try not to build things up. My kids have had their fair share of disappointments as well so I tell them the same thing I tell myself. God has something else in store for us. We don’t know what it is or when it is coming but it will. When they are as little as Noah, though…that is tough for them to understand. I think I just explained that some things can’t be helped and then probably did the worst thing possible: take them out for ice cream or let them get something at Target. I’m a huge sucker when a broken heart is involved. 🙂

    Visiting from PYHO.

  2. Adrienne says:

    I wish I could be more of a pessimist. Then I wouldn’t be disappointed so much. I do not deal well with this, so I totally stink at teaching my kids about it.

  3. Alison says:

    Oh poor Noah. And you. I know how much you both were looking forward to your Mom’s arrival. I don’t have any advice, I haven’t had to go there yet with my boys. Maybe start another countdown chain to when your Mom can come?

  4. Tricia says:

    Oh so sad 🙁 I love the building excitement of things and, even when they turn out to not be as planned, I think the excitement is still part of the fun.

  5. Robbie says:

    I’m a bit like you. I wouldn’t consider myself a pessimist but I’ve always thought expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed. I don’t like to get my hope sup b/c then the disappointment is even bigger. I haven’t passed that sentiment on to my kids though. When my kids are disappointed I try to answer their questions the best I can and explain that life doesn’t always work out how we want. It’s a tough lesson to learn.

  6. Shell says:

    I’m sorry that she can’t be there when you thought she would be.

    I’m learning that my kids get over disappointments a lot quicker than I do. Because they are sad in the moment, but they are able to move on while I wallow. I need to borrow my kids’ attitudes!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Well, for us, being a family of faith in Christ, we use moments like these to stop and remember that while we plan for our future, God our Father is “the big boss of it all.” We remember that no circumstance is above or below His radar, that He knows every.single.detail., and He knows what’s best for us (even better than we do!) all the time. It’s great to be excited about things. It’s great to anticipate good things. And it’s blissful when the things we’ve so desired come to pass. But….even when they don’t go just the way we hoped they would, God is still working and “up to something” even better for us…and now we have something new to get excited about! We also use these opportunities to remember and recount instances (in the Bible or in our own lives) that testify to God knowing better than we do and bestowing blessing that was good beyond our hopes. So….to answer your question…yes, ultimately we do teach our children that life/people/circumstances will disappoint us, and yes, we do have to deal with it. But by the same token, we don’t loose faith because of it. And yes, we also teach them that life isn’t “fair.” Some meat that our 6 and 8 year olds have been considering as of late when they complain about fairness…”Was it “fair” for Jesus to die on the cross when He was without sin?” and “If Jesus didn’t die for me, what would “fair” look like for me then?”

    Best wishes! It’s difficult to watch their little hearts be broken and their little minds try and try to understand. Praying for you and your family as you work it all out.

  8. April says:

    Awh! Poor little guy! That’s so heartbreaking 🙁

    You know I’m not an authority on parenting, but I think your little ritual and fun “plan” was ABSOLUTELY worth it, and definitely something you should continue doing – no matter what might happen. I mean, it’s not like you’re giving him a paper-chain countdown to winning the lottery. Your goals dreams ARE attainable, and sometimes these things just happen. Never let the fear of disappointment keep you from achieving what you want. EVER.

  9. Rachel says:

    I know your pain. From the time I got married, it was close to five years before I saw my family again. And then 18 months of that time was in China so we saw didn’t see ANY family then. Now Jason deals with not seeing his family from this side. For us, its disappointing in that every time we think our family has come to accept our lifestyle — namely my hubby’s family — we find out they haven’t and are mad/not speaking to/or lecturing us. (I’m still not sure if the silence or the lectures are worse.)

    Please don’t teach your babies that life isn’t fair. It’s my personal opinion that life will do that amply itself without our helping. I don’t want my babies to grow up thinking that the world is going to let them down because honestly, I choose to believe that the world is good place…it’s to depressing and painful if I don’t. I am preaching to the choir here because in the last few days, we have lost the house we thought was perfect for us…the one we helped to clean and get ready…all because the landlord (a pastor of a local church at that!) didn’t want to see through his end of the deal. So we cleaned and fixed some things for free. Lesson learned…you can’t even trust pastors! But I can’t let this get to me…I’m going to have a baby soon so I need all the positive energy I can get! There is awesome in the world — I’ve just got to find it. I’m really sorry your mum couldn’t make it for whatever reason. But I do know its like to be ‘the one who moved away’. You can do it!

  10. Laura Jane says:

    Awe, this made me sad. I know you both were so excited about her coming. But, it’s true. Life happens and sometimes we just can’t make it happen the way WE think it should.

    There hasn’t been anything as monumental as a long awaited visit fall through happen to Mason, but he’s three. And something as simple as “we were going to go to the zoo, but it’s 110 degrees outside today, sweetie, we just can’t go” seems to absolutely devastate him. I haven’t found a sure fire way to approach disappointment with him yet, but what I always do is make sure to acknowledge how he FEELS about the disappointment.

    “I know you’re sad. I’m sad, too.” I try to make sure he understands that it’s okay to feel sad when something doesn’t happen the way you wanted to and that I empathize with him. I let him cry for a bit and then, after attempting to explain that sometimes it just doesn’t go the way we want it to go, I try to diffuse the situation by saying, “Let’s go find something to do that makes us super duper happy- right now!” Ice cream, visit to the park, water gun fight, dress up, pick out a new arts and craft project, etc.

    I personally feel, that at such a young age, there’s no need to teach a child that “life isn’t fair” and things usually just don’t work out. That is a hard lesson that kids, teens and adults will learn on their own eventually.

    Woo. That was longer than I expected.

    • Laura Jane says:

      Addendum (since I was thinking about this all last night):

      Instead, I think I’d rather focus on teaching him how to COPE with disappointment, rather than to EXPECT it. These kiddos find joy in so many of the “little” things that I can’t imagine taking that light away from them just yet.

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Courtney Kirkland is a Southeast Alabama Writer & Designer. Since 2008, Courtney has passionately provided beautiful, intentional design to small businesses & bloggers and encouraged thousands to walk in a rich faith in any situation.