Have you ever run into a movie aficionado who has practically memorized every line from their favorite movie? Not just the familiar ones…but all of the lines, like they were an understudy?
I’m not quite that bad, but when it comes to “The Princess Bride,” I’m pretty close. One great exchange between Inigo Montoya and the Man in Black went something like this:
“Who are you?”
“No one of consequence.”
“I must know…”
“Get used to disappointment.”
That phrase, “get used to disappointment,” has gotten lodged in my head. In fact, it takes a great deal of energy to remind myself that disappointment doesn’t have to be the default setting of my life.
Disappointment happens. It happens to the best of us and to the worst of us. People let you down. Life doesn’t turn out the way you planned. You were counting on someone or something to come through… and it didn’t… they didn’t. You were let down. Now there are at least two ways to approach those disillusioning situations. You can get bitter and let it fuel your attitudes. That choice will end up defining your future. Or you can leverage disappointment to motivate you. To be better. To be more sensitive. To be more aware. To be more loving. To be more compassionate. Even our disappointment with God, which is probably our perception of the circumstances, anyway, is an opportunity. As Philip Yancey says, “The only thing worse than disappointment with God is disappointment without Him.”
What if we led the way, mentoring our kids in the latter? The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians that “God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.” Now that’s crazy talk… or is it? We learn very little from our successes and our strengths. More than that, nobody cares much for our successes or strengths because they can’t always identity with those. They can, however, identity with our failures and weaknesses. That’s how they learn and that’s how we learn and that’s how our kids learn. Disappointment is the springboard for improvement or innovation.
The backyard of our home was huge. Trees, basketball court, chickens, ducks…you get the idea. My kids loved it. They had a million adventures in the backyard. All of our kids enjoyed it and did all sorts of things to keep themselves busy.
My son, Jason, is super creative and has always enjoyed inventing. He got in his mind this idea of building a water slide from one of the tall trees directly into the pool.
Great idea. But it was doomed to failure. Here’s the problem: he was going to make it out of wood… ouch! Can you imagine sliding down a bunch of 2 x 4’s? He started with such enthusiasm just to have his fire die out after a day or so. So disappointed.
What were his choices? Get bitter or get better? We walked through the moment with his friends and brothers and sister. Did it kill his potential, his creativity, his desire to invent? I don’t think so.
We encouraged him through all of his activities. Even the ones that disappointed. We weren’t perfect, but we attempted to encourage.
Now, as adults, we laugh and laugh about it. To this day, he is still one of the most creative people I know.