It's more of a hero's journey at times than conquering new galaxies, y'know?
And of course, it always happens when you yourself are dealing with adult issues and angst too.
But hey, it's….character-building!
Today's exciting episode deals with…giving your child the ability to *stop* the train wreck of despair that threatens to engulf them when their defenses are low.
Here's what happened.
Yesterday evening, I had just finished beating myself up about being there for a friend when it was pretty obvious, my help wasn't needed. I made peace with myself by promising I'd back off and perhaps channel my feelings into a fantastic MamaBear post for the next day.
- And then….it happened.
My husband discovered that HS1 and HS2, yet again, had left their bathroom in a state that would compel Godzilla to run screaming in terror.
And he brought the boys to the scene of said ickness and told them that for the rest of the evening, they'd clean everything they possibly could.
It was a logical reaction, after all. No screaming, no ranting, merely, you *will* fix this.
Alas, logic is a miserable opponent when emotions wade their way into the fight!
HS2 took the attitude, "Dad is right, I'm really upset with myself, but I do deserve this rebuking; I will not cry but fix the problem." (massive wootness there!)
His reaction was, "OMG I'm an utterly worthless human being and I should just run far far away and never come back." (actually, the feelings expressed were far stronger and more troublesome, but you get the idea).
Imagine the following, gentle reader.
Yours truly had *just* put herself thru the mental wringer about heartfelt emotions.
And then she realized one of her kids was in massive danger of beating himself up so much his self-confidence might never return (HS1 never does emotions half-assed, you see).
Both boys came to me after they had cleaned up the mess and shared with me all of their hurt feelings and despair and anger and the like. HS1 in particular told me,
"Mom, whenever I realize I did something stupid, I just can't control myself; I hate myself and can't bear to see anyone because it's so embarrassing. My little voice keeps telling me I'm a worthless human being!"
As he was explaining it to me, he started getting more and more agitated, so that's when I stepped in and said the following.
"HS1, I totally understand you wanting to run away and never come back; you just want the pain to *stop* and you're willing to do anything and everything to make that happen.
Heck, that happens to me too! Even with me growing one year older next week, I *still* get hit by my little voice that mocks me for doing what I think is the right thing, or tells me how stupid I am for my actions and the like.
It's really horrible so guess what, you have every right to feel the way you do!
But. Remember the following, HS1. That little voice within it that focuses on your despair; it's like a big huge freight train that's barreling down on you while you're standing on the middle of the railroad tracks, staring at it.
You *do* have the ability to step *off* of the tracks and let it pass by, you know.
But that takes courage and strength and you know what? It's really difficult to do sometime!
You have your benchmark that for the vast majority of time, you're a glorious person. That's the rock-bottom data; you've proven time and time again that as a human being, you're pretty magnificent.
Nobody can take that away from you!
So when the Despair Train comes rocketing at you, you *know* in your heart….the reality of those worthless feelings is false. You have to give yourself permission to let the hero within you come out and tell the despairing boy within you, "You're *not* right! I *have* bunches of worth!"
And yep, it's really hard to do that!"
While I was talking to my boys, they gradually got calmer and calmer and then HS2 piped up:
"Hey Mom! Remember your idea about putting all of my anger into a suitcase and throwing it off a mountain? It really worked!!"
And HS1 said,
"I like the idea of the hero within me; perhaps I can imagine him as part of a MMORPG and his teammates are my guardian angels and hey! Remember that post you did from the hero site you made me? I can add a helicopter and a mine to my weapons array too!"
And the situation was resolved, bringing me to the point of this post.
Sometimes the little voice within your kids….can figuratively kill them.
You *want* to proactively give them a benchmark of their personal greatness.
You *want* them to know *know* that sometimes…the little voice just plain lies.
That way, whenever they're crushed by their own feelings telling them how bad they are….they'll be able to draw upon the strength you gave them in the past.
Make no mistake about it – it's a tough thing to do!
But as I discovered last night…it's something that is extremely important for all parents to get done.
You never know what your kids are thinking unless they come to you and explain it. Thus, you *want* to head off the despair train before it even leaves the station…and give your children the confidence to believe in themselves above everything else.
They'll thank you for it as they continue to mature.