What Does it Mean to Believe in Your Child?
Last week I talked about crushing your child's dreams, and the fine line parents walk between "reality" and encouraging your child to follow his dreams. Believing in our children is a parental must. But how can we show our kids we believe in them even in the face of brutal realities? A couple of years ago, I was reminded of what happens when we believe in our children. We were having a family conversation at dinner about coaches. “Who was the best coach you ever had?” I asked.
“Hamilton,” my college son answered without hesitation. I wasn't surprised to hear that. Coach Hamilton had believed in my son when he wasn't sure he believed in himself. When TJ was a senior in high school, he’d earned the starting QB spot. Halfway through the season, he played a game that he would rather forget. It was pouring rain, it was muddy, and as a result, the offensive was disastrously sluggish. After the loss, an unsaid fear settled upon us. Would TJ get replaced?
On Monday, Hamilton called TJ into his office. And it wasn’t to fire him. Instead, he told TJ he believed in him and cited three reasons why he wanted TJ to succeed. TJ walked taller out of that meeting. Knowing that his coach believed in him gave him the strength to come back the next week with an outstanding offensive performance. That football coach reminded us that belief empowers a kid. What does it mean to believe in your child?
- Always look for the best. Look for the positive, talk about the positive, build up the good stuff you see in your kid.Whether you’re sports parenting, band parenting, drama parenting, or just plain parenting.
- Never look back. I read somewhere that there are two days you should never worry about: yesterday and tomorrow. Because you can’t change either one. Don’t keep reminding your kids of their failures.
- Keep going to the end. Be your child’s staunchest supporter through all the junk. When they look good, and when they don’t. When they persist, and when they quit. When they frustrate you to no end, and when they bring tears of joy to your eyes.
Sometimes believing in your child will go against everything you feel inside. It takes discipline; it is a choice you make, no matter what the circumstances scream to you. And don’t expect that your child will jump up and down for joy when you express that belief in them, especially if they are teenagers. They may shrug if off, roll their eyes, or act otherwise nonchalant. But don’t let them fool you. They have heard. And they know.