How are you building confidence in your children?
I think this is an ever-evolving question, at least for me. As parents we want our children to believe in themselves, but there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. I am working intentionally to keep that teeter totter balanced with my kids.
Logan has always been a pretty confident kid. He will enter any group situation and can confidently join right in. He will immediately call you a friend and not even know your name But, then there is the “know-it-all” side to Logan. The pendulum has swung far on the cocky side when it comes to how he shares about video games, sports, and pretty much anything you are talking about, he will feel sure that he knows more than you if he’s seen one YouTube video on the subject. And I genuinely don’t believe he intentionally is trying to be better than anyone. He is a teacher at heart. Right now, his teaching comes across more as telling. Again, a fine line.
Then there is the confidence he has in taking command of his diabetes. Where I am so proud of him for being vocal about how he is feeling with his teachers and friends at school, I have also seen him swing towards taking advantage of the freedom to come and go to the clinic as needed and seems to be taking a few too many trips “just to check.” Thankfully, a new Dexcom helps curb that this year.
Don’t get me wrong, I want him to be sure of himself, but I have learned over the years that the best way to gain trust and credibility with people is to first listen to understand. To listen to understand requires you to ask questions. This is the learning moment I am in with Logan right now. How the best teachers are the ones who put learning first. Its not about how much you know, but how big your desire is to learn.
I heard John Maxwell speak recently (virtually of course) and he restated a message in a way that we have heard a million times: “Your talk talks. Your walk walks. But your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” While I can’t say that ten times fast, or even one time fast, it does remind me that the best way I can teach Logan — and his sister and anyone I encounter — is to walk my talk. To not just tell him what he should do, but I want to display the behavior for him. For everyone I encounter in my life, I want them to see my teaching through my actions. The only way to teach love is to be love. The old adage of “do as I say, not as I do” is no longer a viable message for sustainable change.
This is not an overnight switch to flip, and one day he is going to wake up and know exactly how to maintain the perfect balance of confident versus cocky. I’m 37 years old and I am still figuring it out. And that’s the point! The point is to be intentional. To own it when I’ve gone too far towards cocky, and to commit to do it differently the next time. To celebrate him when I see him excel with confidence and to ask questions when it comes across as cocky.
We are all just figuring it out. The world isn’t slowing down for us to teach just this one lesson. It throws in things like pandemics, and virtual school, and distrust, and elections, and wildfires and all these other opportunities to practice. And we are in the situation of having the added pressure and expectation of raising responsible children who can take command of their health and wellness in a way that sometimes seems unfair. But how we engage with our children now is helping build their future. So how are you playing a part in their confident future?