New Series: Now What?


We’re Teaching This:
There are some moments in life that leave us all thinking, “Now what?”. Maybe it was when your teacher handed you a huge assignment and you didn’t even know how to start. Maybe it was staring at the blank screen after that assignment accidentally got deleted. Maybe your “now what?” moment came while sitting on the side of the road with a broken down car. No matter what the situation, you have probably had few experiences that left you with no idea of what to do next. In many ways, that’s how Jesus’ followers felt after He was crucified. No one expected him to die.  Many of them had left their homes and jobs and families to follow this man they thought would be their new leader, a king who would fix all of their problems. Then He was killed and all of those hopes came crashing down. Some cried. Some ran away. Some were paralyzed by fear. But deep down, everyone was asking the same question, “Now what?”. 

Think About This:
Few moments are harder for a parent than watching your son or daughter experience a disappointment. Whether it’s being cut from the team, failing the test, or not getting the part in the school play, teenage disappointments can feel devastating. Even if the situation doesn’t seem like a big deal to us, it can rock our student’s world. That’s why it’s so tempting to help students avoid disappointment instead of learning to deal with it.  In our minds we know that let-downs are a part of life and teaching our students to manage them is healthy, but does that mean we have to be completely hands-off when our son or daughter is going through a tough disappointment? Not necessarily.

In his blog post, Helping Students Handle Disappointment and Pain, Dr. Tim Elmore gives parents five tips for helping their students walk through a disappointing time without bailing them out of it.

  1. Talk to students about disappointment and pain. Let them know it is a part of life and a big part of growing up into healthy adults.
  2. Share some of your own stories of past hurt or disappointments, and how you learned to deal with them.
  3. Give your students perspective — big picture perspective — one what really matters. Help them separate the eternal issues from the temporal ones.
  4. Do something together that may introduce sacrifice or hurt, and reflect on the experience along the way.

Try This:
One of the greatest things we can do for our children is give them the tools to navigate disappointment. Sharing stories is a great way to model both the how-to and the how-not-to when it comes to handling tough circumstances. Choose one of the options below as a conversation starter sometime this week. 

Option 1: Talk about one person who has inspired you in the way they have handled disappointment.
Option 2: Share a story of a time you were disappointed (by a situation that does not involve your family) and how you could have handled that disappointment in a healthier way.