Last night was hard for my daughter.
She had worked really hard, dedicated her time and effort, listened to and followed all the advice of her coach, went to every practice, and worked her way up to run with the Varsity for her Cross Country team.
Last night was the end of the season banquet and she learned she was not chosen to be a captain next year.
She did everything right, worked really hard, wanted it badly, and still she did not get chosen.
It is hard to witness your child in pain. The disappointment and hurt, feelings of betrayal, questions of why she was overlooked, are brutal to see.
As a parent I want to take it away, I want to protect her so she never has to feel that hurt.
Having been kids ourselves and gone through similar experiences we know it hurts like hell.
So, we try to help.
We try to shield and protect.
We give advice or pep talks.
We cry too (on our own when our child can’t see)
But what we come to learn is that we can’t shield or prevent someone else from experiencing pain.
Feeling pain is how we learn.
Disappointment, Betrayal, loneliness, sorrow, hurt – they are all life lessons.
Our hardest job as a parent is to sit next to your hurting child and let them feel the pain. That is our responsibility; to let them experience the life lessons.
How will they learn resilience, courage, fortitude, strength of character if they never feel disappointment?
Glennon Doyle Melton, the author of The Love Warrior, says it best when she asks, “So what is it in a human life that creates bravery, kindness, wisdom, and resilience? What if it’s pain? What if it’s the struggle?”
My daughter already had a lesson in courage when she bolstered herself up and went to speak to the coach after the banquet. She was afraid she’d cry as soon as she opened her mouth, but she did it despite the fear.
My life lesson was to sit with her and hug her and love her through the anguish and pain.
Sometimes the best course of action is to DO nothing. Be a loving presence. Let the person know you are there and they are loved.
This is why dogs can be so comforting when you are sad. They excel at sitting and just being with you. They let you feel whatever you want to feel and they love you all the same; patiently sitting beside you through it all. There is no rush to “get over it”, no need to sort it out or talk it through. They let you BE and Experience.
The only way to get over it is to go THROUGH it.
And as parents we have to let our kids go through it.
As with all things- this too shall pass.