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Teaching Kids About Rejection & Resilience

It's a big part of my life. I don't mean that in a what's wrong with the world, what's wrong with me sense. What I mean is it's important to learn how to deal with rejection, especially if you dream big. The more you put yourself and your ideas out there in the world, the more likely you're going to be rejected. To be authentic is to be rejected, some of the time, until you're not. It's hard to remain optimistic in this world where it appears that only a select few, the lucky ones, are able to share their biggest hopes and dreams with the outside world.

"Fall down seven times, stand up eight." Japanese proverb

To be a creative person with thoughts, ideas, and creativity to share with the world, it's important to learn to accept and push past rejection. Building resilience is essential to success. Ask any entrepreneur, CEO, PhD recipient, heck, why not ask Taylor Swift? Despite her tremendous success, I wouldn't doubt that rejection has been a big part of her life in the past and even in the present.

Of course, we want our kids to succeed. We love to see their happy, joyful faces when they win an award or get a good grade. But, what about when they don't? I'm concerned about the fact that my duaghter "earned" a ribbon just for completing her gymnastics program. I'm concerned that my 12 year old has "graduated" three times since she started pre-school. I'm a little worried our kids will start to expect recognition and success and have a very difficult time dealing with rejection of any sort.

My five almost six-year-old desperately wants to be a fairy. She wants to bring magic to the world and happiness. Thank you Joy (Inside Out) and Tinkerbell (Peter Pan). This summer she insisted on getting a pixie hair cut so she would be more fairy-like, much to her bigger sister with longer hair's dismay (they'll think you're a boy!). My little one didn't care. Her mission to become magical consumes her at times. 

"Mama, do you feel anything on my back? Do you think the fairies came last night and gave me wings? Do you think they start little and grow in, like my bottom teeth that fell out?"

How, in the world do I help her deal with the rejection and not let it crush her spirit. I had no idea. But my middle schooler (rejection grows at this age) had some ideas. See the letter she received from Mona the Magical Mentor Director at our local fairy school.

Watch the video. It's a little heart breaking to see her get so excited and then watch her disappointment. But, it's dang sweet and it's one of the important lessons I want to teach my children, all children, all those I come in contact with. Don't give up. Don't stop believing in your magic and the magic of those around us!

When disappointment or rejection knocks you down, get up and go again, because out of our greatest rejection comes our greatest direction.
Source Unknown.

Who knows? Maybe this will inspire her to research the magic glittering bean and what causes it to rot on occasion. Perhaps, she will bring her magic to the world, to help those in other countries find sustainable and nutritional food sources. Heck, maybe she'll help end world hunger. Never get in the way of obscene optimism but don't be afraid to help make it stronger. Rejection can do good in the world, if we are there to love, support, and advocate for each other.

Megan Meuli, M.A. is the author of Alphabet Adventures: A to Z Activities, Crafts, and Recipes and Twin Cities Adventure Guide. Look for the Wood Lake Nature Center Adventure Guide due in early 2016 and Generation Accommodation: From Generation Me to We, Gen A Is On Its Way, Are We Ready?


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