Mum's the Word

Don't fix the cup

Posted: Aug. 22, 2017 9:45 am Updated: Aug. 22, 2017 9:50 am

So let's say my kid gets a yellow cup. Let's also hypothetically assume that today they hate yellow and they are going to have a problem with that.

Now because we live in a world of problem solvers, everyone wants to fix the yellow cup fiasco.

Here's the thing though. We do not have an actual problem.

The cup is a metaphor. It's a metaphor for everything that doesn't go your way. And guess what? The world doesn't care that you hate yellow. Deal with it! The world is full of yellow cups and there are days that life is going to hand you a yellow cup and if you hate yellow cups it may feel like it did it just to spite you. That's not true, but it may feel that way.

The real truth is that you are focused on you and an inanimate object that has no value. In real life you don't just magically get a new cup. Especially not by acting like a jerk. No, no. Life may say, "Oh you don't like yellow? Well now I will turn everything you own yellow."

So while everyone scrambles to fix the crying child and their cup problem, what we are really allowing to happen is an adaptation. Adaptation into a self-involved, self-fulfilling jerk. Not to mention we are setting our kids up for a lifetime of disappointment when we should be teaching them to cope and be grateful. Learn to like yellow or learn to appreciate having a cup. I don't really care. Learn to adapt to the yellow cup epidemic in whatever way you see fit.

I'm not saying you can't have an opinion or assert your opinion. I mean, if you'd like to ask for a different color, that's fine. However, just as you may ask for a different color cup, someone may say no. The more you act like a jerk, the less likely people are to want to help you. You get more bees with honey, honey.

I know that it's uncomfortable to watch our kids get upset, but we need to face the fact that it's completely necessary. They need to learn how to deal with the "no" and be grateful for the cup.

Today it's a yellow cup, but tomorrow it's something else. They are like the raptors at Jurassic Park and it's our job to make sure the electricity stays on.

Let's say no everyday and watch them cry until there are no more tears. March them up and down the aisles proclaiming no as many times as it takes until we are numb to the tears of ridiculousness. I feel like we are now pandering to a generation of people that have had their cups fixed and so they can't cope when life tells them no and, if you haven't noticed, adult tantrums are way uglier than the child version. Turn on the news.

So. ... to my children:

No, you may not have another cup. This is real life!

Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.

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