Suzanne Gosselin: Coronavirus got your kids heartbroken over cancellations? This can help

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Over the weekend, my newsfeed was overflowing with the disappointments of children and their parents as events are canceled to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

One dad reported that his high school daughter was supposed to play with her band at Disneyland this week, a special opportunity that cannot be rescheduled.

A mom mentioned how her daughter had been working on a science fair project for two months and is devastated to not be able to submit it.

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And I can’t imagine the disappointment of some college basketball players (and their parents) with March Madness turning into what someone aptly called, “March Sadness.”

We are experiencing unprecedented times of disappointment. Though they are first-world problems, and necessary precautions, these losses are real and deep.

Though my children are still young, my husband and I have already had to deal with some minor disappointments — a canceled rugby season, no special theater outing and even no church.

I realize my children are watching my reactions to these events and taking my lead. How I guide them through these moments will likely affect them for the rest of their lives.

There is power in embracing the disappointments in life and even telling my children about my own — the time I was passed over for the part I really wanted in the play; the time no one invited me to the high school dance; the time I didn’t get the internship I really wanted. Each of those disappointments felt devastating at the time but led to different — and sometimes better — opportunities.

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Instead of playing the coveted role in the play, I enjoyed singing and dancing in the ensemble. In place of going to the dance, I did something fun with friends. And when another student was chosen for the internship, I spent the summer taking some specialized courses that helped me land my first job out of college.

I realize my children are watching my reactions to these events and taking my lead. How I guide them through these moments will likely affect them for the rest of their lives.

In the coming weeks, some experiences will be lost that feel irreplaceable. And the truth is, they are. But I want my children to know that it’s OK when life doesn’t work out the way we hoped.

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We can move forward together, trusting that God has a bigger plan for our lives than we can see. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

As we have begun to grieve fun trips that won’t be and the experiences that have been put on hold, new dreams are taking shape.

We will have more quality time together as a family. We will have opportunities to show care for our neighbors. We will have time to slow down and be thankful for what we have.

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While every cloud may not have a silver lining, I want my children to know they can still find joy when life doesn’t go according to their plan.

In fact, the new plan is sometimes better.

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