21 Aug Dealing With Disappointment

I still remember 7th grade basketball tryouts. I knew I was a long shot to make the team at only 5’2’’, but I still gave it everything I had. I hustled through every drill, made the first cut, and had my parents drive me to school to see if my name was posted on the list outside the gym door.

This was it. Final cuts. Making the team was my world. Basketball meant everything to me. It was dark. Cold. Rain misted down from above as I sprinted to check the list. My eyes scanned the damp piece of paper taped to the gym door up and down, and my hopes were crushed.

I was cut.

The coach graciously asked if I wanted to be a manager, but I couldn’t. Are you kidding me? Talk about a blow to your pride. Being manager meant shagging rebounds for the first teamers. Being manager meant I was good enough to hold the towels, not to play.

Ouch.

What do you say if you are the parent? You feel every bit of the pain your son or daughter feels, and all you want to do is take that pain away. But how? Is there any hope of saving the day? The ball is in your court, mom or dad. It is now or never.

There really is no script on what to say. This is a touchy situation. And the tricky thing is that different kids need different support from parents. After all, God created each child unique, full of different gifts and abilities. That being said, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Some kids might prefer to be left alone. This might be difficult for you, but sometimes the less words said, the better. Give these types of kids space. Let them know you are there for them, but don’t MAKE them talk about it. Sometimes talking about it just reminds them of the disappointment.

Other kids might appreciate the opportunity to get their feelings out. Here, your job is simple: listen. Let them pour out their emotions, and if a few tears happen to fall, be there to wipe them away. Sometimes a hug doesn’t hurt, too, but remember, the less words the better.

Another tactic is to be relatable. Were you ever cut from the team yourself back in the day? Tell them that story. The empathy you share with that devastation lessens the burden. Suddenly you share it together, taking a bit of weight off your child.

Sports and activities are sure to look different in the fall of 2020. Your child’s season may even be cancelled due to COVID-19. The biggest thing to remember is to let your child know they are not alone.

You are on this journey together. Love on them. Support them. Encourage them. Let them know that no matter how they perform, you will always love them.

You can’t go wrong with that.

Clint Daniels is entering his 18th year of teaching 7th Grade Language Arts at Indian Trail Middle School. He is the co-sponsor of FCA in his building and works as a part-time FCA associate as well. He also leads a faculty prayer group and reaches out to Christian teachers on his blog at www.theteachersdevotional.com.