9: Teaching Disappointment #LifeWideLearning16

I am a big fan of unintended lessons. They aren’t quite teachable moments and they certainly weren’t a part of the original plan. The unintentionally learned is perhaps the most powerful because it is mostly seen through actions rather than words. It is mostly something being modeled directly in front of you, causing you to know a hidden strength or unforeseen flaw.

It is in this that I most recently taught others to get their hopes up and be disappointed. I modeled the excitement of what could be, the optimism of how everything was going to work out. I showed just how much we are in control of our own destinies and how well we are able to build and create when we do it together.

And then, I taught the disappointment of having those things become a lie in front of you. I showed just how badly things can go wrong when you blindly trust. This unintended lesson was all over my face and it showed to others that my optimism can be just a naive wish.

And then as I tried to pick up the pieces, I hope I taught another lesson. The way we come back from disappointment is even more important. The way we continue to embrace our values even as we learn from our mistakes is the true test of our fortitude. It doesn’t make the lesson of disappointment any less poignant, but it does make it more hollow. It makes it so that the wound heals rather than festers.

I hope that both lessons were unintentionally on display. I hope that both of them were taught and then learned. I hope that those who saw the disappointment, also saw what it means to not let it win.

Both. And.

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