Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Handling Disappointment

We had a grand adventure planned on Monday.  We were going to LegoLand.  My six year old absolutely loves building with Legos and one of our homeschool groups had gotten an amazing group rate for a day at LegoLand.  We couldn't pass it up.

I packed snacks, laid out clothes and set my alarm so that we would be up and ready to go by seven.  My mom offered to watch the baby so that I could play with my boys all day and my dad came with with me.  As we drove east toward Winter Haven, the clouds started to roll in.  Rain fell so hard that we could only go 40 MPH on the highway.  We checked the weather map and it looked like the day would be filled with thunderstorms.  I asked my dad to text the field trip organizer to ask if we could get a rain check on the tickets.  No go.

We decided to tough it out.  We would buy ponchos and enjoy the short lines.  We would make the very best of it.  I walked up to the group ticket counter and gave her the group name and my ID.  She shuffled the papers uncomfortably and then asked a coworker to come look at the list.  "Ummm...what is the name of your group organizer?"  I gave it to her and she looked up at me with wide eyes.  "She didn't tell you she rescheduled it?  Because of the rain?  Your tickets are not valid until April 13th."

My heart sank as I looked at my two little boys.  They were brimming with excitement and talking about all the things they were going to do.  I thought, for a moment, about buying another set of tickets.  I looked at the prices and realized it would be $350 - Not an amount I was willing to spend to spare them the disappointment.  I just had to tell them the truth.

"Guys, it looks like our tickets were cancelled for today.  We aren't going to be able to get into the park for another few weeks.  But I promise we'll come back and do all the things you are excited to do."

They looked at me, shrugged and said, "Well, do you think we could at least buy Legos?  Or at least look at the new Lego hotel?"

I asked a Lego employee about shopping and she told us how to buy a one hour shopping pass.  My dad and I looked at each other and started giggling.  What else could we do?  We drove two hours to buy Legos!  If the kids were okay, we might as well make the best of it.  We ran into the big Lego store, spent some birthday money they had been saving then went around the carousel once.  We ran to guest services to make sure we were out by the one hour mark then made our way to the car.

My oldest looked back at the huge LED screen showing kids smiling ear to ear riding all the rides.  "Look Mommy, there's all the things we didn't get to do today." 
My dad chimed in.  "Actually, those are all the things you will get to do when we come back in a few weeks, right?"
"Yeah, you're right, Papa," my oldest said.

We took them to Chik-fil-A to play on the playground and eat lunch and as my three year old ate his ice cream he said, "This has been the best day ever."  

My dad and I talked on the way home about how well they handled the disappointment.  We talked about how tempting it is as a parent to want to shield your children from all disappointments.  But what service would we actually be doing if they didn't learn how to handle it now?  Wouldn't it be a shock to them to experience it for the first time as an adult?  They wouldn't have the tools to know how to respond.  I hated disappointing my kids yesterday and yet they surprised me with their great attitutudes and ability to bounce back.  Maybe your kids will surprise you, too.

Do you find yourself trying to shield your kids from disappointment?  How can you help guide them when they do feel it?


  1. "This has been the best day ever."

    I like how kids can put things into perspective for us [smile]. Isn't that the point of so many Calvin & Hobbes strips involving cardboard boxes and the imagination? I think I handle disappointment far worse than my nieces and nephews... I still have much to learn.


    1. You are so right, Luke! Sometimes our kids are the best teachers.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...