The other day someone asked me what my greatest disappointment was? I first wondered what kind of person asks that kind of a question? Then I started to think. What was my response? Did I have one? Did I have multiple?
I’m a thirty something who has lead a fortunate life. I have an amazing husband who still is the funniest person I know and my biggest supporter of all things. I have two amazing boys that teach me more about myself everyday. They challenge me at every turn and provide more joy than I knew was possible to hold in my heart. I have an amazing extended family, our relationships are not perfect, but we make it work and I love them. I have friends that make me laugh, let me cry, and fill my heart.
Most of those friends could share a story (or two) about a decision gone wrong. Like that time I hid in the trunk or that couch we ‘borrowed’ from the neighbors just for the night. Some may share stories about paying for gas with five dollars in pennies so we could drive the same road all night. Were these disappointments? Bad decisions, yes. Disappointments, no.
I have made some bad decisions — I think we all have, but even those were a lesson. Even those taught me something about myself. Maybe I didnt ask enough questions of a mentor, study hard enough for a test, or work as hard as I could of. Maybe I lied, maybe I teased, maybe I disappointed someone else. Not moments I’m proud of, but again, lessons I learned from.
I wish I had more time with my boys. I wish life didn’t always get in the way of life. I wish loved ones could stay with us longer, that babies would stay little longer, and like every parent, that potty training was an overnight realization for each child that happens at the exact time they take their first step.
Mistakes may be many, but regrets and disappointments I came up empty on. I am an opportunist. Everything can have a sugar coating and as long as we try to find the positive, we do not have to wallow in negativity. I saw something recently that said not to ask whether the glass was half full or empty, but to ask how much the glass weighed. How long can you carry the load holding the glass with your arm extended straight in front of you? Then you begin to see whether you need to be holding the glass at all.
Teaching these lessons is difficult. I focus on helping them come to a decision on their own. I focus on good sportsmanship, being a good friend, helping others, being kind and helping them identify positive versus negative attitudes. They are entitled to both – although, like every parent, I hope their positive selections outweigh the negative. A story my son really likes is The Energy Bus for Kids, by Jon Gordon. It is a great story about the power of a positive attitude and how it contributes to overcoming challenges at home, school, and out in the world. The Energy Bus, by Jon Gordon shares 10 rules that helps everyone think positively.
I love the quote below. My son loves a good challenge, but is what I call an “over challenger.” Sometimes he even wants to race to see who can finish a snack first, get upstairs first, get ready for bed first . . . everything can be a challenge if we let it. Or we can focus on improving our actions day-after-day. Being better than we were yesterday.
Make your memories, do your best, fix your oops’s, and take responsibility for the good and bad in your life. Be fair, be kind, and be reminded perfection only comes in the form of ice cream. At least for those that are not lactose intolerant. And teach your children this important lesson.
Oh, and instead of asking someone what their biggest disappointment is, talk about dinosaurs, gardening, or the weather. The person on the other end of the conversation will thank you, because like me, they are probably a work in progress.