Life Aint No Fairytale

Why are we so afraid to admit to our kids that life aint no fairytale?

Why are we so afraid to admit to our kids that life aint no fairytale? Yes, I know how to speak proper English, but ya know what?

I aint in a proper English kind of mood tonight, you know?
 
I am serious here though. 
 
How many little girls still grow up thinking that their knight in shining armor is gonna show up on their doorstep one day, and they will live happily ever after?

Did we bother telling them that An Officer and a Gentleman was just a dang movie and that life just usually doesn’t go that way?

Do they know how to find happiness inside themselves with or without a man? Did we teach them that relationships aren’t sprinkled in fairy dust and that they have to work at a good marriage? 
 
Do we tell our boys that they might not grow up to be NFL football stars and that just maybe they should have an alternative ready? Did we warn them that not all girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice?

Do they know that the star player of the basketball team doesn’t always make the basket at the critical moment? That sometimes they are gonna miss the shot? Do we remind them that the baseball player with the record for the most home runs is often the same player with the record for the most strikeouts?
 
Do they know that sometimes bad things happen to good people?
 
Even as we teach them about knights in shining armor, fairy dust and happily ever after, we need to teach them about the bumpy road that gets there. Just about anything worth having will take hard work. And it takes knowing how to respond to disappointments.
 
As we prepare them for the joy of successes, we must teach them that failure is not only okay, it is to be expected and that a big part of success is learning how to respond when we fail.

I want to teach my daughter how to live the serenity prayer, to accept the things she cannot change, to have the courage to change the things she can, and to have the wisdom to know the difference.
 
I am not talking about keeping our kids from dreaming big dreams, and believing that they can do anything they really set their minds to. I am talking about teaching them the realities of achieving those dreams.

Cricket Walker

(10) Comments

  1. michelle latham
    michelle lathamJan 03, 2008

    How true and how hard it is. We have a 14 year old daughter and it is a daily struggle to help her have the self confidence to succeed in all that matters to her. She has so many dreams and goals, and life is rough. We love them so much and want so much for them.
    Michelle in NV

  2. Dee
    DeeJan 03, 2008

    I think it’s a tough line to walk. You want them to dream and know that they can achieve their dreams. But, I’m in a struggle right now with my oldest, teaching him that everything in life isn’t handed to us. I spoke with a guy today who was having similar problems with his adult son.

    My kids have lived through the not-so-fairy-tale moments. My youngest doesn’t remember it. My oldest lives every day knowing that he will never see his father who died when he was just a baby. Unfortunately, his anger over that fact seems to grow every day, as he gets older and seriously misses having that relationship. That is a cold reality that is hard for anyone.

    All three live each day knowing that their mom’s body is deteriorating in front of them. And, I think that takes a toll on their spirits. They see me have really good days, and even though I do what I can to minimize the bad days, they see that too.

    My goal is to show them that anything is possible, and every single moment is a gift which shouldn’t be wasted. They’ve seen the bad and ugly of life….my goal is to show them that even in the baddest and ugliest moments, there is a glimmer of something good.

    I live and teach them (through actions and words) that hope is something they shouldn’t ever trade for ANYTHING…and reality – no matter how bad it looks at the moment – takes us on the most interesting journey which shapes and changes us forever. It’s our responsibility to give it the power to shape and change us for the better.

  3. Cricket Walker
    Cricket WalkerJan 03, 2008

    It’s difficult to find that balance sometimes, isn’t it?

  4. Amy Sue
    Amy SueJan 04, 2008

    My mom had a couple of favorite phrases that I now use with my kids: “Life isn’t fair, only interesting” and “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

    I grew up expecting a knight in shining armor, to make that last-minute point that saves the game, and to have all my dreams come true. While I never made the winning shot I did find my knight and have realized many of my dreams. Although I’ve had my share of rough times, I always knew my family was there for me – no matter what. I think that as parents that’s the most important thing we can do for our children – teach them that life isn’t fair and doesn’t play out like the movies, but it’s OK because no matter what happens in life we’ll be there for them.

    ~Amy Sue

  5. Carla
    CarlaJan 04, 2008

    I treasure this scripture . . .
    “… You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result …” (Genesis 50:20 NIV)
    My parents raised me thinking life was a fairy tale. I had no idea how to deal with life when I was out of their house. Lots of things happen in life, we must learn from it and move on. Hopefully we will have the wisdom to let our children see and learn from it too.

  6. Kat
    KatJan 04, 2008

    To me, the most important idea here is represented by:
    “Do we remind them that the baseball player with the record for the most home runs is often the same player with the record for the most strikeouts?”

    In other words, home runs don’t just happen. They player with the most home runs works at it. Works hard. That player has the most strikeouts because he or she keeps trying, keeps improving, keeps WORKING at being good enough to make another home run.

    My husband just retired after 31 years of teaching high school. One of the hardest things he had to deal with was the trend of using constant praise in the elementary and middle schools, even for work that was poor, because praise was supposed to improve students’ self esteem. Well, that theory doesn’t work. Nobody gains when people grow up feeling entitled to praise for everything they do even when it is awful.

    Successful teachers (whether at school or at home) know that it is necessary to praise HARD WORK and GOOD results, and to show children how to improve their initial efforts so that the next essay or lab experiment or test result is truly worthy of praise.

    Fairy tales are useful for encouraging dreams, for building goals: the knight in shining armor, the Nobel prize in chemistry, the blockbuster novel, and living happily ever after. But we all — even children — need reality checks periodically to keep those dreams on track and to prepare us for a world that does its own thing, no matter how badly we want it to do or be something different.

  7. Paul Knight
    Paul KnightJan 04, 2008

    Hopes and dreams are what makes the world go around for most folks. The problem is that a lot of people only want their children to believe that that is the only way things happen.

    Many people don’t want their children to know about all the bad things that go on in the world, and around them. They don’t want them to realize what a crazy world we do live in. If these children are denied the reality of things, what is going to happen to them when they are out on their own. Not only will they not realize that yes these things are going on, and do happen in real life, but they will not be prepared to deal with it.

    It is our place to sit down with our children and let them talk about what is going on in the world, and around them, sometime we may be able to help them understand that the world isn’t the place we would like to see it be. I don’t think we should force the issue of discussion on every matter that comes up, but we need to let them know we are there if they need to talk about something, and that we will listen.

    Just my opinion.

    Paul

  8. Veronica
    VeronicaJan 08, 2008

    I have two daughters 27 and 16 years in age. I still do not have an answer to anything.

    What I do know is that dreams and hopes are a part of all of us, and we need them to survive. If you cannot dream you cannot hope. If you cannot hope you cannot go into action. If you don’t go into action your really cannot survive.

    The one thing I have taught my girls is, don’t always use MY experiences as YOUR Blue Print for life.

    We go through life hoping that it can always be positive, but truthfully, it cannot. What can be positive is the way we approach life.

    I once worked through The Power of Positive Thinking for Teens, with my youngest daughter and highly recommended it to her best friends mother to work through with her daughter. The kids thought it was a drag, however, both us parents got to spend some quality with our girls and it opened doors to discussions that had been put off for too long. It may be something for you girls to look into.

  9. Deb
    DebJan 18, 2008

    Does anyone remember trivets, those cast iron plates that you put on your table for hot dishes? My grandmother (b. 1898) had a collection of them, and one said “Life never promised you a rose garden”. That one saying stuck with me for many, many years, and it became the foundation for teaching our two kids about the big, bad world out there. Through personal and intense experience, I’ve found that changing my perspective of a situation was key in my future success or failure.

    Your statement “And it takes knowing how to respond to disappointments” is crucial. If you respond to a disappointment with a negative attitude, you’re doomed – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you try to find something positive you always will, and it will lead you to something better than you imagined possible.

    This is, of course, hard for a teenager to comprehend. I have two of my own and results are mixed at best.

  10. Shiv
    ShivJul 08, 2008

    It is true… we tend to forget for ourselves as well that life is not made up of all beautiful rose… it has thorns underneath it all. Only thing I hope to pass on to my little girl is that she learns to realize these situations and live em and move one.

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