Re-Post | 4 Ways To Help Your Child Navigate Disappointment

Associate Pastor | Music Minister

— This is one of our most popular post to date here on Pastor Arvil Ogle shared an in the moment post about parenting his then 18 year old son Dylan. Information this good shouldn’t only be seen one time. For all of you that missed it the first time around, here is your chance. I hope you enjoy!

The time had arrived. Dylan, our 18-year-old son, has played basketball since he was 7 years old. This is his senior year.

Almost every season thru these years Dylan played along side his friend Zach. Zach has always been the guy you want on your team. He dominated with his talent and determination. But Zach graduated last May, so it was Dylan’s time to step up.

Dylan’s season started and his first 9 games Dylan played strong! Then on Dec. 13th, during the 10th game of the season, we were in the middle of a SCROOGE performance and I was backstage getting ready to go for my scene…. I get the message that Dylan was injured during a game and was being taken to the clinic.

Cheryl left Scrooge and went to be with him. When Scrooge was over, I thanked a few folks for coming to this performance and headed to my office. I picked up my phone and there was the message… his foot was broken.

At the moment, I stopped and realized my biggest job was not going to be how I deal with his physical pain and broken bones. My biggest job – help Dylan navigate through negative thoughts and disappointment.

As a man in my 40’s I understand that high school basketball is not the epitome of life, achievement, and accomplishment. But to an 18-year-old senior in high school, it is okay for it to be a big deal to him.

Here are some things that we have learned.

Take some time to show empathy to your child!

Even if your child’s disappointing event is not a big deal to you, it is important to them.

My friend Bill Isaacs tells a story of a time he went to a Christian concert with one of his boys. It was a group that Bill would not naturally be into their music. Before the concert started a friend saw him there and was surprise to see him there at that concert. After this friend inquired why he would ever come to this concert, this was Bill’s reply, “My son is really into this group and I am really into my son.”

A great way to show someone you love that you deeply care for them, show interest in what they care about. We looked Dylan in the eyes many times through the first couple of weeks and told him how sorry we were that this happened!

It’s okay not to have all the answers as a parent!

Many times when something bad happens, parents can fall into the trap of messing up scripture to help their children feel better. They might say –

“God won’t put more on you than you can handle”

“God must be trying to teach you a lesson”

Be careful to not tell your child something you cannot back up scripturally to make them feel better.

Here is what we told Dylan:

“We don’t understand why this happened”

“We don’t think God did this to you.”

“It rains on the just and the unjust.”

“God could have stopped this from happening but he didn’t.”

Which leads us the next but VERY IMPORTANT question.

What does God want to say in moments like this? How do you need to act during this time?

It is super important for parents to turn the corner from disappointment as the focus to what can I learn from this event! If we do not turn this corner with our children they may end up living a life where “everything is someone else’s fault” or have the “poor me” mentality. We MUST NAVIGATE them to turn this corner!!

I have done more coaching with Dylan in the last 4 weeks than probably any other 4-week period in his life. Even though I don’t have all the answers I have a HUGE opportunity to pour into his life. Here are some of the things we have talked about:

• How he acts with his teammates and coaches now shows who he REALLY is!

• What can he learn about himself during this time?

• What is God revealing to him?

What we DO know is this… CHARACTER is revealed and developed through times like these.

I wish I had the perfect movie ending to Dylan’s story – but I don’t. We are still waiting and hoping that he can play at least a couple of games before the season is over. I pray for complete healing for his foot everyday but then I REALLY pray that God transforms his mind, heart and soul.

So how do you help your children navigate through disappointment?

• Show them you care about their disappointment

• Be real! Its okay that you don’t have all the answers – life isn’t fair!

• TURN THE CORNER: lead them to discover more about themselves, their character and what God is showing them.

• Pray for them

4 Ways to Help your child Navigate disappointment

Arvil and Dylan Ogle

Associate Pastor | Music Minister

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