Parenting Blog

Quick Thoughts: We Must Adjust

Life lesson time, peeps.

  • I never wanted glasses and frankly, I still can’t believe I’ve gotta have ’em on to read and to avoid causing 8-car pileups on the roadways.
  • My back sucks and will continue to suck until I’m a pile of ash.  A handsome pile of ash, mind you.
  • The cushy rug of my online t-shirt shop was yanked out from under me only days – DAYS I TELL YOU! – after I ditched my steady paying corporate gig to focus solely on it.  I knew being self-employed was going to be a challenge, but what happened 3 years ago was F-in’ brutal.
  • And yesterday my hard drive crashed.  Gone.  Dead.  And with it a good portion of my music library, some recent writing, and newer photos.  I fortuitously had, just a couple of weeks ago, backed up most of my work and our photo collection through September onto an external HD. Not the music though. Yesterday was bad but could’ve been WAY worse.

Not much I could do about any of those curveballs except adjust, recalibrate, and move on (…and start my free trail of Carbonite)

There’s a lesson in there somewhere as a parent, if you believe as I do, that children learn from you and your reaction to hardship as much, if not more than, from observing your success.

Rolling with the punches, going with the flow, “without struggle there can be no progress” – Frederick Douglas (my favorite quote ever); there are many nifty quips to describe the idea of being nimble in the face of challenges to your self-esteem, your body, and to your livelihood.  Young children, as a general rule, do not possess an expansive enough world view or perspective to handle disappointment well (see: them not being allowed to ride their bike in the rain, have ice cream after dinner, or anything else that disrupts their own personal game plan).  As such, these handy sayings aren’t going to land like a body blow.  They are just words.  We need to show them what rolling with the punches actually means in, like, real life and stuff.

There will still be temper tantrums regardless of how you portray swift adjustments in front of them, but children will take something away from witnessing you gracefully bobbing and weaving through life’s cobwebs.  Of course, as with anything, good honest conversation plays a primo role in children processing what they are viewing.

So what can we do to increase the odds of our offspring being better equipped to go with the flow when their seas get stormy?  Be clever in the face of anguish, bravely leap over hurdles, and be smart about how you react to all that happens to you – whether it’s a dude cutting you off on the highway or blowing out your knee shooting hoops.  Because our kids are watching and learning how they should cope with the flaming bags of shit that sometimes get left on life’s doorstep.

So please, no looting or table-flipping. k?  Stay classy, y’all, for the children’s sake.

Note: I talk about handling disappointment in episode 3 of my podcast The Smartest Guy in the Room.  Give it a listen, won’t ya?
Smartest Guy in the Room Episode 3 by OWTK

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joc