Parent help is among the highlights of my week. I enjoy going into my son’s class to aid his teacher and other school staff. I love working in another school environment as a chaplain. And I loved helping in my daughters’ courses when they were kids too.
It strikes me, the more I am involved in school environments, just how holistic education is. It’s not only about the academic work or the’formative’ years. There’s very much a social dimension to instruction which carries through beyond school, even, hesitant as I say this, into life as a 50-year-old. We are always learning.
I was reminded of this as I saw my child interact in a course session on the mat. I saw myself in his disappointment. And, thank God, not one iota of me sought to shield him.
‘It is what it is, son. Acknowledge it and proceed.’
That’s what I felt I heard God say to my spirit.
And we always feel like we have been hard-done-by. If we’re not careful disappointment grows legs and runs full tilt toward bitterness and headlong to the eventual’prize’ of resentment.
As a five-year-old the disappointment seems obvious on the face, a heart that’s momentarily rejected, but they look fast to get over it. But on a fifty-year-old that disappointment is often hidden in an’Oh, I’ll be fine… it’s really fine…’ when at times my soul is actually saying,’Gee, that hurt!’ And,’If I’m honest, I’m stunned!’
The purpose is disappointment stings. We don’t expect not to get our way. And it reinforces feelings of injustice (‘it is not fair!’) Or residual feelings of inadequacy (‘these things always happen to me’, and’why am I always the goal?’) Or one of a range of other not-so-good feelings and attributions.
Two things we could do about disappointment: 1) admit it happened; that we felt the sting of disappointment, and that that is fine, without judging it, and 2) move on. That’s right, we simply move on. We don’t give the disappointment that emerges any more attention than it warrants.
I didn’t enjoy it as it happened, but I am not going to let it define me.
Hard as it is, when disappointment occurs, it is best to admit it hurts, take courage to feel it, learn what you can, then let go and proceed.