If you don't already know, I recently interviewed for a job (a local mental health counseling position) and was pretty nervous to do so! Before last Thursday I had not interviewed for anything in years! I scoured my grad school notes, refreshed my brain of all my teachings and cases of students I worked with, practiced typical interview questions, reviewed theories and interventions, etc. I felt prepared and enjoyed the interview. I left feeling pretty confident I had done well, but mostly just relieved it was over. Then the waiting...
I wasn't sure I wanted to go back to work and I'm fortunate at this point that it's not a financial necessity for our family, but each year as these kids grow and demand more food in their bellies, clothes on their back, activities, etc. I realize this stay at home gig will not always cut it. With that, I thought let's see what's out there and maybe now is a good time to try to get back to work. So last Thursday fighting my anxiety and fear of failure I shared with my Facebook world my interview plans & I showed up for that interview 10 minutes early ready to go!
And the verdict....
I didn't get the job. I was bummed and feeling like a failure. After some reflection I realized I wasn't so upset about not getting the job itself, but really the rejection of it all. The feeling of wasted time and effort, and that I hadn't performed well enough in my interview, hadn't said the right things, or in fact said the wrong things. I thought maybe mentioning I had three kids 5 and under sealed my fate, who knows?? Ultimately rejection is hard at any age and when Ava asked me why I was crying (yes I cried a little), I used the opportunity to talk to her about not always getting the things we want and that sometimes in life people say no to you.
I'm fortunate enough to have learned in life (sometimes in very hard ways) that we cannot always have what we want, we cannot control everything, and we have to be able to cope and lick our wounds to try again. This is even more important to teach younger generations today, including our own little ones, because too many kids are ill prepared to handle disappointment, rejection, and not getting what they want. Helicopter parents overseeing growing generations of entitled children need to understand that the protection they eagerly provide may be saving their kids from feelings of failure, rejection, and disappointment, but it is setting them up to not know how to cope with these inevitabilities of life. If you are one of those parents who doesn't use the word failure or doesn't believe in failure that's fine - but your child, just like mine, will at some point not succeed at something. Your kid, like mine, will not always win first place, will not always get an A+, will not always make every sports team, and someday will likely not get the job they interview for, accepted into the college they want, get the boy/girl they want to date, and the list goes on.
So if you are like me and still as an adult are facing disappointments, failures, etc. use your own experiences to talk about this with your kids. If you are a helicopter parent or a parent hell bent on making sure your kids get participation trophies and some sort of prize for everything they attempt to succeed at, please please please let them fail. Let your children feel disappointment. Yes it will hurt your heart too, but you are there to show them it's ok to have disappointment, to teach them to get up again and try something else.
I have coping skills today because my parents did a great service to me by letting me try everything possible I wanted to, and subsequently learning that I cannot succeed at everything I do. I will do the same for my own kids and I'm hoping my post encourages other parents to make sure they are doing so too. My kids will not always succeed at what they do & my kids will see me face disappointment (they already have). My kids see me cry, my kids see me get frustrated, and they clearly do the same. We talk through these feelings when we can, and as they get older we will talk more about all of life's ups and downs that they are sure to experience. You cannot deny this for your children, you cannot deny they will feel pain, disappointment, frustration along the way - in the same manner they will feel joy, happiness, and success as well. As parents, if we are lucky enough, we can be there for all of it! We are there to provide comfort and bandaids when needed, and we are there to provide celebration and balloons too.
If you've stuck with this post to the end good for you, and thank you! I've licked my wounds from yesterday and the sting has subsided. I've tried to use this as a teaching experience for my kids and a learning experience for me (never to old to learn, right!?). I believe all things happen for a reason, so onward and upward! It's a new day, I've got a new coffee cup, and I'm ready to take on the world again :) I hope you've enjoyed this post and here's to more failures and successes (hopefully more of the latter) in 2017!