Why We Can’t Lose Hope
Posted by admin on Aug 30, 2011 in Family Interaction Tips, Fresh Perspectives, Parenting Tips
If we’ve lost all hope, what are the chances for a better future?
A lot of parents start Brain Highways with a sigh of relief and this sobering comment, “This program gives me hope.” That statement always makes me sad because I think: How did those parents lose hope in the first place?
It’s a question worth pondering because I don’t believe there’s a single child in this world who wants their parents to feel hopeless about them.
So where does it begin?
I think much hopelessness is triggered by bold, “absolute” statements that some doctors, teachers, and therapists (i.e. people in authority) say to parents about their kids. The problem is . . .such statements don’t allow for the possibility that others—those with different perceptions and experiences—may differ greatly from what that person has just said.
For example, consider the difference between saying, “I don’t know how to help your child learn to speak” and, “Your child will never speak—and you need to accept that.”
Not only does the latter statement slam all doors of hope, but it’s accompanied by a strong subconscious message. Namely, if parents cling to “false” hope, then they must be in denial. With the denial card on the table, the authority figure’s position is reinforced, suggesting he can “see” the situation much more clearly than the one in denial.
But since no one can predict the future for certain, I always wonder why it isn’t equally probable that the person in authority is the one in denial. Yet that’s not where such conversations usually go.
Instead, “absolute” comments often end up only reinforcing our own doubts. After all, we tried many approaches that did not yield desired results. We’re feeling helpless and vulnerable and have probably already wondered if we are at the end of the road, that there is nothing else we can do.
Most of all, we’re tired, so tired of searching for ways to improve the current situation that it seems unbearable to get our hopes up, once again.
So, it’s somewhere around this time, it just seems easier . . . to let go of all hope.
I truly understand how that can happen. But I can’t accept it.
That’s because what started out as the most sincere desire to help the child has now inadvertently shifted to protecting parents from further disappointment. That means that somewhere along the line, the child is no longer the first consideration. That means the child, by default, now becomes the recipient of all that hopelessness that hangs in the air, in unspoken messages, and in the way everyone looks at him.
And that just can’t be right.
Well, how do we turn that around? We can post and remember this truth every day: “As long as we’re breathing, there are options. As long as there are options, we have hope.”
If we need an additional boost, we can also post this saying right below it: “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”
I’ve had the honor of knowing lots of families whose experiences underscore that sentiment. I’m also thinking it’s the kind of spirit every child wants to see in the eyes of everyone they know.