My 9 year old nephew wasn’t tall enough to ride the Go Karts at our nearby fun park. He was understandably upset at something he had little control over. We talked about needing to “let it go.”
But he was having a tough time with it. And kids, yes, they do ask the darndest questions: “I’m upset and I don’t know how to let go. How do you do that?” How do you DO that? Yikes.
At the inside ticket counter, he and his fraternal twin brother had each stepped up to the height ruler hung the wall. One did not make but this boy did.
His brother, while disappointed, cheerfully went off to the batting cages. I went off with the lucky brother to ride the Go Karts.
Now outside in line, we hear, “Let’s check your height, please.”And then, “Sorry, no. You need to be above the height line.” The assistant manager called in to make the final decision ruled that he did not meet the height requirement. We exchanged the ticket, so the manager made it right… but only from our adult perspective.
Not so for the child, who at this point wanted to leave the park.
“I don’t know how to let it go. How do I?” I work on this question every day I’m organizing or coaching with a client. And I struggle with it myself occasionally.
Here were Aunties’ Answers for this situation.
- Change the Situation: “Sometimes you can’t make it right. It is what it is. Sometimes it’ll help to find something else to focus on.” (e.g., mini golf with his brother).
- Find Support: His brother asked him to come and play mini golf with us. Simply asked him and was there for him.
- He wasn’t going to play, but his brother (and we) thought we’d get him a club “Just in case.” He played mini-golf, not with a smile on his face, but he changed after we goofed around. He got the picture of what he was missing.
- Look at Self: attitude, perspective.
- “You can stew about it all night, but think of the fun you’ll miss while you’re still thinking about the Karts.”
- For an adult, I would ask: What would make it right? What would help you let it go? How have you let it go before, in other situations
Am I putting rational thoughts around a 9 year old situation? I guess so, but it seemed to ring true and work for him. Am I deluding myself, since I don’t have children and they were on vacation? Perhaps. But it did work.
I have a lot of faith in my boys and in the life skills they’ve learned to date. This one’s a difficult one, though, isn’t it?
When was the last time you had to “let go” and how did you do it? Share thoughts here, on Facebook or in a direct message.
*Self, support, situation and strategies: the “four S” approach from Nancy K. Schlossberg. A wonderfully useful framework during times of overwhelm/change.