Monday, January 17, 2011

Heart Breakers

I’ve decided that every kid is destined to have their heart broken by an adult at least once before they grow up. I’m not talking about, you know, being told they have to clean their rooms, or even feeling lied to about the possible existence of a certain white-haired-jolly man who wears a red suit.

No, I’m talking about kids trusting certain adults in their lives—be they teachers, scout leaders, clergy, sports coaches, whoever—who make promises or give expectations, but do not follow through. Who humiliate or hurt for reasons that kid will never understand. Every one of my kids has experienced this, and I’m telling you now, it’s a keen kind of let down, a heartache that you would never expect possible.

How does this happen?

I don’t know. Maybe sometimes it’s accidental. Those times don’t seem to hurt quite as bad as the ones that are on purpose. And believe me, it hurts the parents as much as the child. (Sometimes, that might be the point, which makes it even worse.)

But it must be necessary to the growth of the child, their personal journey. It must. How else would any adult justify making a kid feel like they’re worthless? Like their best isn’t good enough? Like they’re less important, less liked than their peers?

They don’t. There is no justification. NONE.  

But it happens just the same. So what do we do about it? We get out the voodoo dolls, buy the kid prizes, love them through it.

Also, we have a very important chat, which I will discuss on Wednesday, because otherwise this post will be holy-wow-long. In the meantime, I’d like to know. Have you experienced this yourself or with your kids? And how did you handle it?

*In case you're wondering, this discussion will tie into writing, but not until Friday. Keep reading!


Bethany Mason said...

I don't have kids but I'm a Scout leader and therefore feel responsible for those kids - and that's why I never make a promise I can't keep (and make sure that they know I haven't PROMISED anything to prevent confusion).

Angie said...

Growing up can be so hard! Good things kids are resilient. Can't wait to read your other posts.

Carolyn V. said...

I've found that you have to remind them that the adult is a person with flaws too. Even though it doesn't always help. The loving them is the best part, and reminding them how important they are.