Ever Hopeful

My son is usually a glass half empty kind of guy. He is often pessimistic, and looks at the world as always having some sort of “catch.” “There’s always a catch, Mom!”

from Google images

Sometimes I wonder just why some people are continually hopeful, while others become hopeless. There are those who constantly see the glass as half full and others who always see the glass as half empty.

One day when he was particularly whiny about there always being a catch, I had a flash of insight: this kid tries to do so many things that he might have seen someone do just one time, and he expects to be able to do whatever it is, just as well as someone who’s done it a hundred times. He doesn’t fully appreciate the learning curve.

You know, all those mistakes you make because you didn’t know this or that, but as you course correct you get better and better at what you’re doing.

He has it in his head that if he sees how something is done, he should be able to do it. And when he can’t get it the first time, he’s defeated. I saw this when he was using his first train set. It had magnets on the train cars, but if you didn’t get the correct magnetic poles together, the cars wouldn’t stick to each other. Boy, would he get beyond frustrated! (I finally got him some Thomas trains; with faces on them, it’s easy to tell the front from the back).

That day, when I was ready to go off on his whiny butt and instead a flash of insight hit me, I ended up telling him how brave he is to try so many new things. I let him know that there are many people, and especially adults, who won’t try anything new without learning all about it, or who just plain won’t learn anything new because they’re afraid to fail. I talked about the learning curve, and about trying again and again because most people don’t get things just right the first time.

I reminded him about getting his first video game console; trying to learn the controllers and how to play a game. He was so defeated. But he kept trying until he finally got it.

My kid is definitely a glass half empty kid. On the other hand, I’m the opposite. God only knows why, but I keep an optimistic heart. I always assume the best in someone until they prove otherwise. I hold onto hope and keep the faith, more times than I can count. Sure, I get down, and it can get pretty dark and dire, but eventually I always pop back up.

For some things, my patience seems eternal. Not everything, but some. Where my son is concerned, I’m continually hopeful. He struggles, and then we move on for a while. He struggles more, and we move on. The most recent struggle with anxiety is one that will likely be around for a long time; but then again, I’m always hopeful that we’ll find the right this or that to help him, and he’ll be able to leave it behind. But right now, even though it’s a struggle, I’m ever hopeful.

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About mariner2mother

I'm a mother of a very spirited 14 year old son, and a former merchant ship's deck officer. To feed my creative side I take photos and make a very occasional batch of soap. I am also Reiki attuned and am a student of Energy Healing, having used several healing modalities to work on myself and my family.
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21 Responses to Ever Hopeful

  1. candidkay says:

    He is lucky to have such a wise mother! I tell my child often that it was not ok to fail in my house growing up–and then I tell him to make mistakes, big ones:). Perfectionism creates such tiny little boxes.

  2. sara says:

    I’m a glass half full kind of girl myself, but I know what you mean about your son, because my son has a similar kind of misconception about the learning curve. If he’s not good at something straight away, he just assumes he will never be good at it, so sticks to his strengths. What they don’t know is that growth happens in those areas where we struggle…

  3. The Hook says:

    Your perpetual hope gives me hope, my lovely friend.

  4. MollyB111 says:

    See… great mom. And ❤ Thomas.

  5. My son sounds a lot like your son! He’s 11, and sets a very high bar for himself from academics to video games to sports. When he doesn’t do well, he calls himself a failure. It breaks my heart. He’s always been like that, and maybe it’s because of his older sister, who he assumes does not struggle with the learning curve as much as he does. Of course she does, but she tends to have a bit more patience and knows her limits and knows to walk away for a breather when things become too much.

    I love your sage words about your son being brave and trying new things. Really, that is so true. Too many people shy away from new things because of the fear of failure!

    • Thanks Kate. I swear, I was ready to lose my cool when this idea popped into my head about the kid not being afraid to try a bazillion things. He’d been washing Daddy’s white car, and the soap dried on it because it was in the hot sun. When he went to rinse, the dirt, which had been smeared around, wouldn’t budge. He was immediately defeated and went into whine and bitching mode. After our little chat, he finally let me teach him a few things about washing cars.

  6. It takes a lot of glasses (wink wink) to help our kids navigate all of this, successfully! Your son is lucky that you are patient, compassionate and committed. And no doubt, with time, his glass will fill up too! Nice job, Susan.

  7. You and your son are the perfect match. You know what you get when you pair a half full glass with a half empty glass? A cup that runneth over!! I love you to pieces, Susan xoxoxo

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