It was a packed house for the 5Th and 6TH grade Winter Chorus at my daughter’s school.
The children put on a good show.
As they enthusiastically performed, I started to think of all of the potential that was packed onto that stage. Not the American Idol type of potential that is pervasive in our society, but the type of potential that says, “It’s all in front of them.”
How many of them will become doctors or lawyers? How many of them will pursue their dreams as vigorously as they belted out those holiday tunes? How many will become parents themselves?
I was seated near the front and I turned to look at all of the parents watching their children. I could almost see the hope in their eyes.
Our children really are the best things about us.
Dealing with Disappointment
My daughter had tried out for a solo. She is outgoing and confident and participates in many extracurricular activities. She was disappointed when she wasn’t selected for one of the brief solo parts, but that disappointment didn’t last long, nor was it discernible during the performance. There will be other shows, and she’ll be there, trying her best, as always.
Working through our children’s disappointments is more difficult than working through our own. We’ve had those experiences ourselves, so we can more easily differentiate the severity of each episode, whereas to them, disappointments all feel the same, at least for a little while.
When my daughter at college calls, feeling overwhelmed, I want to help – but there isn’t much that I can do – so I listen. When a class is not going well, and the desperation in her voice is palpable, I talk her down by reminding her to keep the situation in perspective. The pressure to succeed is real, but that reality should never be allowed to affect us so disproportionately as to shatter our resolve.
The Cheerleader and The Coach
During these times, my wife is more of a cheerleader, whereas my approach resembles that of a coach. She cheers our daughters on unwaveringly and I teach them how to deal with what’s ahead when the cheering stops. In this, I think that we make a good team. Of course, we switch roles from time to time, but invariably we revert to what we are each most comfortable with – the cheerleader and the coach.
The hope is that the different types of support that we provide will enable our girls to meet each challenge that arises, now and in the future, in a balanced way.