Wow. I’m still reeling from a phone call I had a yesterday. Let me first preface though…
Growing up, I failed. I’ve missed a field goal. I didn’t get elected class president. I wasn’t accepted to every fraternity I pledged. I did not receive an acceptance letter to every college to which I applied. I was kicked off my club soccer team in what would be my final year playing soccer. I didn’t pass every test. I didn’t make the lead in the musical. And I failed at so many other things that I could never list or even remember.
As a kid, you feel each and every failure and it hurts. You don’t always understand why and sometimes it even seems like the end of your world.
As a parent though…I recently got the first taste of my children not being accepted to something. Now, it might be trivial. It might be for the best in the long run. But right now? It hurts more than anything I ever went through in my life in regards to my own failures. I feel like I failed them and it is the worst thing in the entire world.
As adults, we see and understand more of the behind the scenes. The politics. The favors. Nepotism. Money. The humanity and therefor imperfect decision making. And when you always want what is best for your child, it becomes even more frustrating when these types of obstacles stand in your way.
So I guess the question is, how do we handle this as parents? And how do we teach our children to handle it? How much of what is behind the actual curtain do we explain to them and at what age? With the holidays upon us, the first thing that came to mind is Santa Claus? Most of us, me included, want our children to believe in magic as long as possible. We build up the fantasy of Santa to stimulate their imaginations. To see their wonder and awe. And at some point, when they are emotionally intelligent enough to understand, we expose the myth but hopefully turn it into a lesson on the joy of giving and the overall magic of Christmas.
So I guess I’ve answered my own question. I continue to let them believe in magic and make the best of their situation and I put all of my time and energy into finding success the next time or elsewhere. And eventually, when they are ready, I will teach them to do the same.