hard knocks

Despite the fact that, as we have recently seen here at TEOM, I am often a mass of anxiety when it comes to my children, I don’t actually believe in protecting them from pain and disappointment.

Quite the opposite. 

Oh, don’t get me wrong  I have never felt it necessary to dole out difficulties in the service of “toughening them up” or “preparing them for real life.” As far as I am concerned, that is just the way some parents manage their anxiety about whether or not their children are going to make it out in the real world.   They want proof their kids will be OK and they want it now.

I have always felt that life would acquaint my children with grief in its own good time and without any help from me. The way I see it, my job is to create – no, to be –  an emotional home for my children’s feelings when life does what it must do and lobs disappointments, losses and frustrations their way.

Which is why it strikes me, now that I look back on it, that my reaction yesterday to Youngest’s thumping in his first Fantasy Football matchup was oddly out of character.  For reasons too complex for me to attempt to decipher, much less explain, the fact that the Colts trounced the Saints last night somehow resulted in his team being thrashed by his friend Scott’s team.

He rose from the couch when the game was over, his shoulders slumped in disappointment.  “I got killed,” he sighed.

Did I empathize?  I did not.  Did I encourage him to tell me more about it?  Nahh.  Did  I point out that there the season is long and redemption is possible?  Uh, nope.

What I did do was put one arm around his shoulders and laid a hand on his chest.  He looked at me, no doubt expecting soothing words of wisdom.  What he got was…

“Welcome to pro football.”

Do you think it’s possible I may have watched one too many episodes of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Kansas City Chiefs


8 thoughts on “hard knocks

  1. Ha! I don’t know a thing about football, but I do remember when Tim was about 7 years old and went to bed in tears because the Red Sox had blown another championship, and I said, “Kid, this is what it’s all about if you’re a Sox fan.” I hated to see him cry, but I knew there was no way to protect him, and that these tears for the Sox would not be the last.

  2. Straight-forward and to the point. I love it!
    You shifted the responsibility of dealing with his emotions BACK TO HIM which is better for HIM anyway.
    It’s a tough thing to do, isn’t it?

  3. slouching mom, he won’t come after you. He is the gracious type and laughed when I said it!
    Valle, that is hysterical. As you know, there are Cubs fans lurking in our house so I know exactly of what you speak…
    Mizmell, in this case, I found it an irresistible opening!

  4. I’m struck by how many people assume that God is like one or the other of the bad parenting-types you’ve described: some assume that God will protect them from all misfortune, while others assume that God spends his time gift-wrapping special little misfortunes to send our way to teach us a lesson.
    It’s one of the more pointed comments Jesus made, actually – don’t assume that God is worse than your average parent.

  5. Unfortunately, dudelet has been saddled with the dad from hell – i.e. one who has a vague idea that a football is round, rugby is played by violent psychopaths and American Football involved suits of armour. He’s really going to need a sports mentor when he reaches school…

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