22 February 2010

Life's Rough. Get a Helmet.

It's been a really long time since I've referenced "Boy Meets World" but I felt that a quote from the show (although I'm not sure it's the original source) made the perfect title for this post.  Like many people, I have moments where I just have to whine about my job.  Yesterday, talking to my friend Amy, I was complaining about how sometimes it's just really hard to be a teacher.  The hardest part for me is definitely dealing with difficult behaviors.  And it really frustrates me when I see parents who don't think it's their job to discipline their kids or teach their kids about good manners.

This led us into a discussion about how so many parents can't stand to see their children uncomfortable, or sad, or frustrated in any way.  Amy brought up a very good point about how we live in a "feel good" culture.  We think we are always supposed to be happy, or at least be happy most of the time.  We can't stand sadness.  When we feel sad, we think something is wrong with us.  So rather than dealing with our emotions, many people start to think antidepressants (or worse) are the answer.  To paraphrase Amy:  Sadness is not necessarily depression.

It hurts to see people we care about hurting, so it's understandable that we try to push them out of their sadness as soon as possible.  But sometimes sadness needs to be acknowledged and validated.  I hate that I only have a couple of people that I can talk to about my sadness because I know that they can handle being there and listening...but being there is the most important part.  When I feel sad, the worst thing that people can do is tell me to move on, it will all be fine.  I know that.  I think most people do know that most things turn out being okay.  But in the meantime, I think it's important to let people feel however they need to feel at any given moment, even if it is sadness, or anger, or frustration.

It's the same with kids.  I think people need to find ways to be okay with their kids having to go through difficult situations.  They need to listen to their kids when they are hurting, but they also can't block their kids from ever dealing with painful situations.  Life is hard, and it only gets worse as you grow up.  This shouldn't be some big secret that we let them find out as they age.  Rather than "teaching" kids that when they feel sad their parents will magically take the pain away (with candy or a toy or yelling at their teacher), I wish parents could teach their kids coping skills for when life is rough.

I wish I had better coping skills.  It would have been so much easier to learn them as a little kid than it is to figure it out now.