October 2011

Your Parenting/Leadership TOOLKIT… [since 2003]
How To Make Peace With Disappointment

– parents who can deal with it = children who can deal with it –

Dear parents-2-b, moms, dads, caregivers, social workers, grandparents & educators of children between the ages of 0 to 18 years old.

Not sure if we can blame it on ‘it is that time of the year’, but I do pick up many individuals and families struggling to cope with disappointments. Phew, and don’t even mention the World Cup Rugby.

“We would never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world,” wrote Helen Keller. How I wish she was wrong. Disappointments leave us with the unpleasant task of squashing, crushing, and pinching life’s lemons to extract anything to transform into lemonade. Yet if we as parents, teachers, caregivers and leaders can learn how to cope and deal with disappointment, we can teach our kids valuable skills. CHILDREN SEE, CHILDREN DO. A parent who can deal with disappointment will raise a child that can deal with disappointment.

To see children smile, eat, laugh, and just be children! To see our future happy…makes me happy. Have a happy October! Scroll down to this week’s parenting/leadership toolkit where I share 10 tips on HOW TO MAKE PEACE WITH DISAPPOINTMENT.

My wish is that these tips will help you more easily turn sour into sweet as you take steps to overcome disappointment in your own life. May these tips inspire you. May you go from strength to strength and be a source of strength to you family, community and others.

1. Allow Cracks & Focus On The Light The Crack Let’s In

A crack in your marriage, career, or personal plans doesn’t mean that your life is broken. According to singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Focus on the light that the crack let’s in.

2. Throw Away The Lies/Evidence

Albert Einstein failed his college entrance exam. Walt Disney was fired from his first media job. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Get it?

So many times we struggle under the weight of a tag or label that was hung around our necks in the past. Take it from someone who was tagged at school for being a bad influence. I knew I never was and will never be but it was up to me to get rid of the so-called evidence/lies that others hung around my neck.

3. Ignore The Critics

Success is one percent natural talent, 99 percent hard work. Take it from a famous writer whose eighth-grade paper was read aloud as an example of how NOT to write. Also, if you don’t get criticized it means you are doing nothing.

4. Grow Your Roots

Although the bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on Earth, it looks lazy at first because it has no branches…just lots of deep and wide roots. Once its roots take hold, though, bamboo is capable of surging as fast as 48 inches in 24 hours. So are we … if we grow strong roots.

5. Don’t rush the process

Only in struggling to emerge from a small hole in the cocoon does a butterfly form wings strong enough to fly. Should you try to help a butterfly by tearing open the cocoon, the poor thing won’t sprout wings, or if it does, its friends will make fun of it. So take your time, and emerge slowly and deliberately.

6. Protect yourself

Avoid the highly educated relative who might tell you “all things happen for a reason” or that you somehow attracted this disappointment with the wrong thoughts. Build an imaginary bubble of protection and hide inside.

7. Stay big

Newspaper columnist Ann Landers once wrote, “Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high. Look it squarely in the eye, and say, “I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.” So give yourself permission to be a giant!

8. Write About It

Recent research by Dr. James Pennebaker, chair of the psychology program at the University of Texas, has concluded that writing about painful feelings and emotional events relieves stress and promotes healing on many levels. So start a journal, and put anything—from A SINGLE word to pages of thoughts—down on paper.

One of my favourite saying: DON’T JUST THINK IT. INK IT.

9. Start Over

Every disappointment is an opportunity to start over. It’s a blank slate, a clean, white piece of paper. And don’t worry–if this time you still can’t color within the lines, you’ll get another blank sheet, as many new beginnings as you need. And Be Gentle with Yourself

Don’t scream at yourself. Speak to yourself with loving kindness, the same way you would to a friend who was just dealt a big, fat, unfair blow. You deserve kindness from everyone, including yourself. And Dance in the Rain, “You can’t wait for the storm to be over. You have to learn how to dance in the rain.”

10. Hang on to HOPE

There is one thing that never, ever disappoints. And that’s hope. Hold onto it forever.

I really appreciated this quote the other day. “When you feel you are at the end of the rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”

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