Confidence. Not arrogance.
We force our kids to study for hours. We push them to try out for club sports, and encourage them to spend day after day learning all manner of skills and talents. We drive them to take advantage of the good opportunities our effort and sacrifice has made possible for them. Yet it’s all for naught if they don’t walk away from the experience with a humble appreciation for the gift and a strong feeling of confidence earned from their success. Confidence that eventually feeds into who they are and what they offer to the world.
Seems obvious, right? Yet I once knew a soccer coach who screamed at his team, all the time. He’d go out and run them until they were sick; he’d beat them down mentally until most of them began to hate the sport. That coach didn’t get it. Didn’t get the important part. Lost the point in his own hubris. Heck, it’s easy to do; we parents can get carried away thinking about scholarships and awards, or social standing. Fact is, our children will achieve great things on their own if we hardwire humility and confidence into them, along with hard work and good sensibility. Kindness comes from humility; courage from confidence. Put them together and you help form a spiritually connected, physically healthy and happy human being.
The other day I participated in a field trip with my other daughter’s second grade class. It was to a science learning center, where all the kids had a chance to experiment and build things with their own hands and imaginations. As they participated, I could see the lights come on, one by one, and it reminded me that as parents, maybe we don’t have to try so hard to make them be what we think they ought to be. Perhaps, if we give them the chance to build a little confidence, and grow a little humble, they’ll eventually discover it for themselves.
What more could there be to wish for?