I am a little rattled by the responses I received about yesterday’s post, Sometimes, It Stings. I have received a couple Facebook inboxes, a few text messages, an email, and a couple of comments from friends about how I handled the situation. The general consensus is that I was probably insensitive when speaking with Carson.
I appreciate the advice and the general concern people are feeling for Carson’s well-being. However, I do want to let you in on a little secret. She and I talked for fifteen or more minutes, and although what I expressed in my blog was the overall sentiment of our exchange, I did not just bark at her about crying and life’s obstacles. I did spend time consoling her as well.
I usually do not defend my parenting style, but because so many people offered advice, I feel the need to explain my philosophy. I parent with common sense. I do not read how-to manuals or books. I listen to other people and I observe their parenting. I think about my own parents and my experiences as a child. I take away from all of it what I believe can and will work for my family. In addition, I parent each of my daughters according to her needs. I try to always show them that I love them, but I am not afraid to be stern.
With that being said, I have said many times that I do not think every child should get a trophy. Likewise, I think it is good for a child to learn that she does not always get everything she wants, that not everything will always go her way, and that sometimes, life is difficult. It is true that Carson was disappointed because she was not invited to a friend’s birthday party. As a parent, I chose to be pragmatic and discuss the sobering reality that sometimes life kind of sucks. She felt real disappointment and besides for rubbing her back and kissing her forehead, I could do nothing to take the pain away. However, by talking through the situation, I know that what she is learning are valuable techniques in developing an emotionally, healthy self; she is learning to endure, to cope, and to survive setbacks.
I want Carson to feel strong and independent. I do not want her to crumble when she strikes out or worse, life throws a 103 mile fast ball and she gets smacked in the face. Oh, it will sting, I know from personal experience that it stings. However, time has the ability to assuage any hurt, and eventually, she will have the strength to pick herself up and stand in the batter’s box of life again. Life is about swinging, and eventually she will experience the glory of the homerun, and when she does, I will be (because I always am) her number one fan cheering in the stands!