future former fatties
Apr 26, 2016 at 01:50 AM

Teaching Meaningful Disappointment Lessons

By Linda Misleh Wagner, Future Former Fatty
Teaching Meaningful Disappointment Lessons
Linda Misleh Wagner
Future Former Fatty
I am the happy grandma of six gorgeous grandchildren. One of my granddaughters has moved back to California. Her name is Lenah, and she is very special to me. I helped in bringing her into the world. By the way, it was the most amazing experience of my life.
Lenah is five years old. Like many five year olds, they have moments when they want their way regardless of whether or not, whatever they want is best for them.
This made me think of something my brother, Anton, has always said. He said the most important lesson he could teach his children is disappointment. Once they understand the importance of acceptance that there will be times in their lives where they will be disappointed, they will learn how to handle moments that don’t pan out the way they expected.
My granddaughter wanted me to play with her at a moment when I could not. Of course, pouting ensued. I asked her to have patience, and as soon as I finished what I was doing, I would play with her. Still pouting.
I live by a motto I created. Sometimes, when we get up in the morning, we need to take a serious look around and see who has the biggest ass that needs kicking. Usually, it’s our own.
What does this have to do with a disappointed five year old? As we grow into our adulthood, we encounter many disappointing moments. Maybe we didn’t get on the team we wanted at Little League, or maybe someone else got picked for the lead in the school play. Whatever the situation, the common denominator is disappointment. These moments are valuable gifts. In the dealing with disappointment is an opportunity to grow in many important areas of our lives and our future handling of our lives.
But, something happens to us in this process of learning disappointments once we become adults, on our own, and responsible for the consequences of our actions.
Somehow, once we become adults, we begin to feel a sense of empowerment. We are living without the supervision of parents or teachers. We are calling the shots of our life. What happens when we are disappointed as adults? Do we draw from our past experiences with disappointment, gain strength, and take positive steps to move forward?
Or do we give in to our whims, good or bad? Do we accept disappointment graciously, or do we kick and scream, blaming others for disappointing us? I think most of us forget that we are responsible to supervise ourselves.
Becoming an adult is not permission to become self-indulgent. Rather, it is put upon us the expectation to lead by example and set the bars of life high. When we fail to do this, we fail ourselves.
One common example we can all relate to is overeating. A parent would never allow their child to over eat, and especially junk foods and sweets. As adults, most of eat whatever we want, rarely telling ourselves “no” even though we know we should. Alcohol is another example for many people.  They forget that as adults they are solely responsible for their actions. There’s no mommy or daddy telling them they had enough.
Let’s try something together. Every time we have a choice to make, we will stop for a brief moment and ask ourselves if we were the parent to ourselves, would we allow ourselves to do what we are choosing to do?  As a current parent, would you do or allow your child to do what you are contemplating doing? If the answer is no, then you know what you need to do.
We will be just fine should we face disappointment, and so will our children. Disappointment is not fun, but it is a part of life. It is a meaningful part of learning important lessons in life. Teach our children to embrace disappointment and use disappointment as a way to learn about acceptance, learn not to be so self-indulgent just because we are adults. Becoming an adult is not based on a number. No, just because we are eighteen does not mean we are adults.
It is our actions and reactions to the handling of the forces of life lessons that come our way that determines our right to call ourselves an adult and mean it, and live by it.
Until we meet again, this is Linda Misleh Wagner, Future Forme

Posted in Diaries.