As an adult, I find myself learning from my children all the time. The children in our lives teach us daily how to look at every minute with joy. They teach us to hold onto those moments that are fleeting and live within them, not past them. I love reliving my own youthful exuberance and discovering a new love for life thanks to the magic of childhood.
One of the most important lessons I’m learning now that I am in my thirties is thanks to my 6 year old. She’s teaching me about confidence. And while that may seem like it should be reversed, it’s true. It’s bizarre that I can’t remember a time when I truly felt confident. Was it when I was 6? I think I was fairly precocious and held my own back then. When did that confidence start to wane? In my pre-teen years maybe? Likely.
It’s always been something that I’ve had to work on, and yet, as I get older, I am finding a renewed sense of confidence thanks to my daughter. She is a kind soul mixed together with a spit-fire approach to life. She doesn’t ask if the water is cold before she goes in, she just jumps. She doesn’t ask permission to be herself, she just is. And I admire that.
When you offer her a compliment she has a fairly standard response most of the time. It doesn’t matter if you are telling her how hard she worked on something, how clever she is, how you love her fashion choices in her outfit, she typically responds with two words that many of us would never imagine uttering: I know.
Think about that. We would say ‘you did such a great job!’ and she responds ‘I know.’ Just like that. No hesitation.
Sure, sometimes she’ll say thank you, or coyly turn away, but most of the time she is steadfast in her belief that of course what she did was wonderful. She knows she put the work in and she’s confidence enough to not feel bad for that.
Don’t you wish we felt like that sometimes? For many of us, if we admit that we believe we are amazing at something, it could be seen as bragging. We downplay our accomplishments. Confidence to some comes across as boasting, which has been frowned upon. We take compliments and turn them around or disagree. I try to at least say thank you to a compliment, but how many times do I then qualify it somehow. “Oh, thank you for noticing that work I did, but…” Why would I add the ‘but’?”But, if I had more time it would have been better.” Or “but, it really is just a cruddy old shirt I put on.”
So, I am learning from my 6 year old that it’s okay to admit that I know I’ve done something well. Two simple words that seem to be so hard to say, and yet, my 6 year old has no problem doing so. She knows how she feels about herself. Why can’t we feel the same way as we get older?
We are fiercely protective of this confidence that she has. I hope she never loses it. It’s part of what makes her so special. It’s truly a quality to be admired. We try to communicate that she’s not defined by any one thing in life – her choices, her actions, her looks – that she can be who she wants to be.
“You know you can do anything you want in life, right sweetie?”
“I know” she responds. And she truly believes it.