- Valerie Bryant
Lessons Parents Deliver when Facing a "Why Me?" Situation
Updated: Dec 18, 2017
If you're wondering why I've so much empty space on my blog - especially when only 2 weeks before there were many more - please read on. You'll see why while grabbing nuggets of basic parenting wisdom. Thank you for visiting my site and blog:
Watching Winnie the Pooh adventures over the years with my 9 children has been a fun season of laughter, lesson - and sometimes agitation. The agitation is something that comes personally to me; it is my nature to have less patience when negative events plague that could have been avoided - with just a bit of common sense. Often, I would suck my teeth at these minor situations and continue enjoying the entertainment.
If you've lived the life of parent, you've experienced such scenes - misfortune that comes your way when poor decisions are made. But what about when you've done all the right "stuff", and mess still happens. That's when we are quick to mimic the common refrain of Rabbit, the hyper-organized character in Winnie the Pooh stories. When he is ever caught by misfortune, his common refrain is to cry, "Why, oh why, oh why?"
It's easy to fall into such reaction when life doesn't go as planned. It has a way of filling our atmosphere with skunk-like aromas when we should be delighting in the fragrance of roses. We work hard to build so much up - from our children, our finances, our marriages, our homes, our bodies - and these matters represent only the tip of an iceberg. Like when my husband and I ended up living in a 26-foot camper trailer with our 8 children after narrowly escaping foreclosure on a house we had planned to live in for the rest of our days. Everything about life had been perfect until the advent of my husband's military retirement and promises of jobs that would have overlapped. That didn't happen - and we lived in physical misery and distress for what felt like an eternity in a place I unaffectionately refer to as "Yellow Stone". (That story is one yet for me to share with you.)
We had to learn to ask the right questions then - and to wait in what felt like dumb anguish as time ticked on, leaving us to stand in that one place. One lesson Lee and I learned was that, whatever was happening, our children were watching. They would learn and mimic more from us than they would any Winnie the Pooh adventure. I am heartbroken to admit that there were times when I did not react as I should have. Our family tells hilarious stories about that. Still, plenty was gained - like losing a sports competition - it's typically the loser of the match who learns best and emerges stronger for the next bout.
Through all our miseries, we eventually learned to teach the children best approaches when the bottom falls out from under. The best for us then was to ask the right questions of life:
What can I do to master my emotions?
How can this situation teach me something about my strengths and weaknesses, helping me to improve myself?
In a recent series of events, the unthinkable happened again in my business life. I have far less time on my plate than ever before in my life - most single-handedly caring for 6 of our 9 children still connected to or living at home while husband is busy with his business. Still, I resolved at the start of the year to invest a better balance of time between family demands and my personal interests.
I had tried with paltry results to establish a website. After spending months burning the candle on both ends, I unveiled my final product. In a word - it was "pitiful"! I made the decision to hire a hosting company in January of this year to do a website build and then to work all my other marketing issues. It was perfect and really delivered the business face I had longed to present for years. With everything under that contract fulfilled by July, I settled back to enjoy this well-planned venture. Knowing they would "be there" should there ever be questions gave me the assurance I needed to move forward. That honeymoon lasted a mere 4 months when 2 weeks ago, without warning, my website stopped broadcasting due to internal company error. I called them day and night and got no morsels of resolution, only encountering pitiful technical counsel on the matter - which they had promised to provide me at the outset. They would put me on phone hold for 10 minutes, only to return asking me to clarify why I had been holding. The straw that broke the camel's back was non-communication, lack of good bedside manner on their part, and my knowledge that, being a small business - they had other more lucrative clients to serve. Still, I had forked over specific funds that were now unrecoverable. The lemon of a website I had purchased was now even too dry to squeeze any promise. It was a wise business decision that had bellied up on me - and I was left holding the bag of broken pieces.
Yet, with my children observing my every move, I decided to answer the right questions:
What can I do to master my emotions now that my virtual "brick-and-mortar" storefront had burned to the ground, with no rescue forces were even on the horizon? I talked almost incessantly with everyone in my family (to include praying "help me" prayers to Jesus) to blow off steam...and I'm telling you now, too. This was vital for me to do prior to getting on the phone with hosting company reps). It helped me to not blow my top nor to waste words of insult. Although righteous indignation would offer temporary relief, it would not get me what I needed.
How can this situation teach me something about my strengths and weaknesses, helping me to improve myself? My strength: With development funds already having been spent, I resorted to my old indomitable programming savvy (my initial Air Force training taught me to code with Fortran. Though the systems have changed drastically, that attitude of long-suffering was surely going to provide me critical confidence boost. Drop-and-drag website developing tools still do require plenty concentration and focus. I rolled up my sleeves, researched and selected what I felt to be the best platform, and got to work. This site you are now experiencing is the result of my 3-day emergency build, attempting to replace what had been on site for me. What's unreal is that all this happened during the very week when I was bedridden with bronchitis. Talk about feeling picked on! But just for a moment.
My weakness: Not asking the right question about future website calamity soon enough. I got engrossed in the busy of moving ahead with my site and did not learn specifics about how to save and keep the right files should rebuild be required. (No, I did not have a copy of my old site that was extensive enough to do a rudimentary roll-over.) Learning from that, I will simply continue to ask what I sometimes feel are stupid repeat questions of the experts - so I don't get left holding the bag full of broken pieces again.
From all this, I feel my children learned resolve from me as they watched me get to work to fix something that was not my doing. They watched me stoop to pick up broken pieces, and instead of playing the victim - do all I could to push past the misery...to eventually produce another victorious moment for us all.
I will be repopulating my blog - I ask your patience as I shift my schedule to do just that. My prayer is that they once again supply you as a parent in ways that will encourage you in your journey to raise your exceptional children - in your own spectacular families.