“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me.” ― Jim Valvano
When we prove to our kids that we believe in them, we give them most of what they need to get through many of the obstacles they will face later in life. The confidence that comes from being an independent and self-sufficient teenager and young adult typically does not form on its own. Seeds of confidence are planted during childhood, and are nurtured by both our actions and our words.
Never underestimate the power of your belief in your children. Your positive feedback regarding their skills, talents, and abilities can inspire them for years. I strongly suggest that we, as parents, never withhold words of encouragement when they are appropriate.
I don’t mean that we should shower our kids with empty praises based on non-accomplishments. The “everyone gets a trophy” approach to parenting has likely hurt young people more than it has helped them. Instead, let’s actively seek opportunities to celebrate the times when our children display mastery of certain skills, reveal fortitude in times of trial, and perform kind and caring acts towards others.
Not only do your children want to hear that you genuinely believe in them, they need to hear it. Our children will encounter plenty of naysayers and skeptics throughout their life, so it is of the utmost importance that we lay a solid foundation for their hopes and dreams by explicitly stating our confidence that they do indeed have what it takes to succeed. It very well might end up being the greatest gift we give them.