Teaching Kids to Make Lemonade Out of Life’s Lemons

DSC_0012-SDisappointments are an unavoidable part of life.  Though wallowing may seem perfectly justified in the moment, we are all capable of choosing to look at the bright side when disappointing situations arise.  It is  hard enough for adults to deal with being disappointed, so how can we expect kids to handle it any better?  The simple answer is to teach them how to make lemonade out of the lemons that they will inevitably experience in life.

As parents in an instant-gratification society, we not only have to help kids make lemonade, we also have to help them define what a real lemon looks like. This morning before school, my 7-yr old daughter was having a dramatic moment, not at all an uncommon event in our house.  During her tirade, she loudly proclaimed that “life isn’t fair!”  I agree with that sentiment 100%, however, her statement was based upon her perception that she is the only kid in her class that doesn’t have an iPad or iPod Touch. It obviously isn’t true, but even if it was, I would not consider that to be one of life’s lemons.

I suspect that her increased volatility has much less to do with what is going on in her classroom, or her perceived lack of technology, and much more to do with the fact that she and my son were forced to deal with one of life’s real lemons this past weekend.

It is a rather long story, but if you read what happened here, you will understand why my kids were left heartbroken and feeling betrayed. After a long trip that started out early in the morning, I was 2.5 hours from home, in an unfamiliar area, with two very sad and disappointed kids.  My wife and I had two choices.
We could wallow in their misery wiDSC_0080-Sth them, or acknowledge their feelings and take the opportunity to make lemonade out of one of life’s lemons.  We chose the latter.  A couple of Shamrock Shakes and some small token gifts allowed us to make lemonade together as a family.  And though they still suffered through waves of sadness, we made the best of a bad situation and ended up having a nice day together.

I found this quote shared by a friend this morning to be an appropriate way to end this article… “I can choose to let it define me, confine me, refine me, outshine me, or I can choose to move on and leave it behind me.”

Written by Adam Waldman