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!”
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.