“What do you think confidence means?” I asked my kindergartner.
He raised his eyebrows and tilted his head. “Like being brave, maybe?”
“When do you feel confident?”
I hear you, kid. Confidence is easy to see, hard to define.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines confidence as “a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances.”
This is accurate—but not particularly helpful. Because, frankly, I know my “powers” are limited at best, and my circumstances are likely to go awry at any moment.
That’s why I like this definition of confidence better: Confidence is learning to see yourself the way God sees you.
When you learn to see yourself through God’s eyes, you feel secure.
You know you’ve got what it takes to handle the everyday challenges that come your way.
You face tough situations thinking, “I can!” instead of “I can’t.”
Our kids desperately need this kind of confidence. Second and third graders are starting to compare themselves to their peers for the first time. Fourth and fifth graders are beginning to find identity in friendships and belonging. The roller-coaster middle school years loom large.
So, how can you translate an abstract definition into concrete tools your kid can use on a Tuesday morning in the lunchroom?
First, here’s what confidence is not. You can assure your child—
Confidence is not bravado. It’s not talking big and pretending you’re never scared or uncertain.
Confidence is not showing up as a “know it all” with all the answers for yourself and others.
Instead, true confidence is rooted in basic truths about God, yourself, and others. So, tell your child—
God made you and loves you no matter what. You can be confident because God made you to be uniquely you, for a purpose. There is nothing you can do that will ever change God’s love for you—or my love for you, for that matter.
Mistakes and failures are an important part of growing. You can be confident to try hard things because getting it wrong is a big part of getting better. In fact, you will never get to be good at anything without messing up in a big way sometimes!
Learn how to talk to yourself . . . the right way. You average about 6,000 thoughts a day. When you start paying attention to those thoughts, you may discover a lot of “I can’t do this,” “I really messed that up,” or “Everyone will laugh at me.” When you start to change the script, you remind yourself, “I can do this,” “I’ll do better next time,” and “My friends are rooting for me.”
No one else is perfect. You may feel like everyone else has it together. But the truth is, other kids and adults are fighting their own battles—even the people who seem to get everything right. In fact, your confidence may be encouraging to them!
You can be confident in your best. You are not going to be the world champion of everything you try. But when you honestly give it your best effort, you can be confident you will get better. And when you’re not afraid to try new things, you’ll be on your way to discovering what it is God made you to do best.
You can lean on God’s power and wisdom every minute of every day. Just like a car runs on gas, God designed us to be fueled by Him! Any time you feel confused, uncertain, insecure, or anxious—God desires to give you His confidence. All you have to do is ask! You probably won’t instantly be zapped with super-confidence, but as you ask God for help, day by day, your confidence will grow.
While you use these tools to explain confidence to your child, consider it a refresher course for yourself too. After all, sometimes our kids need to see something as well as hear it. And if you’re looking for additional help, check out the children’s devotional, Press Play, that helps kids learn where to truly find confidence. It also includes a helpful parent guide. Visit pressplaybook.com for more details.