Your kids are not trophies

It’s so weird watching from my perspective now. Parents losing it over a bad call by a referee or a bad test score. That one moment is not going to define a life.

You gotta let go of the high achievement thing.

Let it go! Next week you won’t even remember that lousy call by the ref. We have forgotten to let kids be kids and to allow them to fail, grow and learn from it. We have forgotten to let them have free time for fear that a moment of unstructured time will mean they’ll not get into college or fall into the wrong crowd. Or God forbid be bored!

We’re too invested in how our kids make us look. Like once we grow them up we can shine them up and put them in a trophy case to show we did a good job.

But trust me. When things start to fall apart, the last thing you worry about is bad test scores because you are hanging onto your child for dear life. For the short time Charles was in high school here in Virginia, teachers would call about missing assignments. With one exception, no one was asking about the bigger issue–why he was not motivated to do the work he was clearly capable of.

I felt like I was seeing the achievement thing from a different perspective once our lives started going off the rails. The “I don’t give a rat’s ass” perspective. Which was only magnified after Charles’ suicide.

Nothing like your kid killing himself to really whack you in the side of the head to let go of the little stuff.

When I have days that I don’t “achieve” what I want to, I remember this quote Charles wrote. It’s so perfect.

“I want everyone to relax a little. Life ain’t a board meeting.”

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

12 thoughts on “Your kids are not trophies”

  1. I have read this poem before… And now it means even more. It was given out as a flyer at my FA meetings.
    My daughter was exceptionally bright and talented… She was recognized by other students as beautiful, independent, sassy… But kind. She always cared for the underdog.
    Her teachers and others didn’t always see it that way. Others refused to recognize the depression and the anxiety and just said she was attention seeking. Happy to take credit for when she did well… But easy to turn when she didn’t.
    Our children need to be recognized and cared for for what lies beneath the surface. Not to be put into a mold and compared to others.
    Its not the grades that needed to be achieved but a sense of self worth and hope. To be loved for who they are and teach them how to build on all the positive things they bring to this world; so that the self doubts and fears won’t take over.

  2. After we lost Tyler, I got calls from Julia’s teachers. She was not getting work done on time or was. basically underachieving.

    I didn’t care. I kept thinking that she got dressed and showed up. That should have been enough.

  3. Hi Anne Moss,
    I’m not a Mom, but in reading your post I recalled this beautiful poem…sharing here:

    On Children, Kahlil Gibran

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.

    1. Wow Sally. You read my mind. I was thinking about that poem last night as I wrote that post. This morning, I thought, “I wish I had reposted that poem we had on Charles’ memorial bulletin.” I wake up and see you have posted it. Thank you for remembering and posting.

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