I was watching my 7-year-old, Celina, attempt to manage some disappointment the other day. Actually she made no effort to manage it — she was feeling it fully. Her second grade world often involves disappointments like not receiving the pencil prize, or losing three minutes of recess because the entire class would not be quiet. On this particular day things did not turn out how Celina had planned in her mind. She and BJ (her 10-year-old sister) had sold pie certificates from the local pie company for a school fundraiser. They worked together and knew they would share the prizes. If your kids have done fundraisers like Jump Rope for Heart or jog-a-thon you know they have a list of prizes that accumulate based on how much is sold. BJ and Celina had sold enough to receive prizes A-G and had figured out who would keep which prizes.
On prize day, the girls got off the bus with only a small envelope. Apparently the listed prizes were only for the sale of cookie dough; the girls had sold only pies. Celina was devastated. She was especially sad over the loss of the finger puppet. Did you read that? She was devastated because she didn’t earn the finger puppet! It seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?
Perspective. In Celina’s world it was a big deal and a big disappointment. Life didn’t go as she planned. I can be guilty of the same thing; in the middle of a situation it is easy to lose perspective and only see the one thing that didn’t go as I wanted. Celina became so focused on what she did not have that she could not even fully enjoy what she did have. Do you want to know what she did have? BJ and Celina were the top pie sellers in the whole school, and won a $50 gift card to Toys R’ Us!!! She could buy 100 finger puppets with $50!
Are you so focused right now on the thing or things that are not working, that you are missing out on the big prize? It is easy to do this in marriage, parenting, business, health, etc. My challenge to myself and to you today is to gain a little perspective. Step back from your situation and look for the blessings you are missing. You may be surprised at what you find.