Nobody gets in line for pain or heartbreak, but it is precisely those things that build our character and grow our wisdom. So why do we interpret bad experiences as bad? I say interpret, because I truly believe that we have a choice in how we process our experiences.
Case in point, my son recently got a crappy grade on a math quiz. I’m sure he’d love that I’m sharing this with the world right now! He was absent the day the teacher went over what was going to be on the quiz. He asked her what he’d missed. She didn’t mention one type of problem that ended up being on the quiz. And so, even though he’d done the responsible thing and checked in after having been absent, and even though he studied, he came home with a 6 out of 10 on that quiz. He was feeling pretty upset. He went to the teacher the next day and explained what had happened, but she refused to allow him the opportunity to retake the quiz or do any extra credit work. She told him he’d just have to make it up on the next test.
Now that’s a pretty crappy thing to have happen. But after my son worked through feeling upset about it, he decided to look at it as a challenge instead of a setback. He met with a tutor. He studied straight through his free periods and lunch, and for hours at home last night. In other words, he put in a lot more time studying for the test than he would have if he’d received a better grade on the quiz. The test is worth a lot more than the quiz was. Getting that low quiz grade might have been exactly the push he needed to bring his overall grade higher than even he thought he could.
I know a lot of adults who look at a setback as a just that, a setback. Not my son. He reframed that setback and turned it into a challenge. My son is in 10th grade and I’m grateful he’s learning how to do this now. It will make a huge difference in the rest of his life.
One Very Proud Mom