Friday, January 31, 2014

What does the Super Bowl - or ANY Championship game - have to do with confidence?

I am not a huge football fan. I'll watch an occasional televised game, and I certainly went to many as a college student, but we're a hockey that's the sport I identify the most with these days. We'll watch the Super Bowl, but mainly for the commercials and that darn "Puppy Bowl" which just gets me oohing and aahhing every time!

But I digress...

I can understand the intensity and expectations of a championship game, like the Super Bowl (or the Stanley Cup Finals) and what it takes to get to play in that type of game. Think about all of those players on the field. What did they do to make it there?

Practice? - Of course, without a doubt.
Passion? -  I would hope those playing have a passion for the sport, or why would they endure the lifestyle (workouts, practices, games, road-trips, time away from family, physical pain/injury, etc.)? I would hope it wasn't just about the money.
Drive? - Sort of the same as passion, but I think drive lasts longer and runs deeper than passion. One may lose their passion for the sport, but their drive keeps them going for whatever reason (maybe money/debt/responsibilities, etc.).
Natural talent? - Possibly, but I think practice is more important than natural talent and reminds me of the quote "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
Confidence? - Yes, yes, and yes!

Without confidence, either in themselves or from outside sources (coaches, upper management, etc.), those players wouldn't be there. They may be the best of the best (for this season), but they've proven that they can get the job done. They are expected to get the job done. For years, they've been playing this game, gaining more and more confidence. It fills them up and everything in the game comes second nature to them.

But what about when they were first starting out? How did they gain confidence? And how can we, as parents, help our kids be filled with confidence when they go out on the field, on the ice, or at a new tryout or new activity?

I submit it's through our words and actions.

I support my boys with positive feedback, positive words, and by teaching them positive self-talk. There's no "I can't" in our house. When they say that, my response is, "Why not? Yes, you can." If they come back with, "I don't know" or some sort of version of that response, I say, "Then let's figure it out."

Be a confidence-builder, not a confidence-breaker.

What do you do to instill confidence in your kids?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pre-Order the Book and a few Reflections

With the book just a few weeks away from being delivered from the printer, you can place your pre-order at Amazon.

We've heard great things about the resources that are included at the back of the book. Here are just a couple of the reflections that, we hope, will prompt readers to think deeper about how confidence shapes their daily lives:

  • Have you ever made a mistake and given up? What other choice could you have made?
  • How do you help others build their confidence?
  • What do you do well? Make a list.
  • What’s good about working with a partner?

How does confidence shape your life or the life of your child? We'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Are You a Confidence-Builder?

From the time our kids are born, there are (usually) two primary caregivers- Mom and Dad. If the baby is lucky enough, there are more...grandparents, aunts, uncles, god-parents, siblings, etc, but let's primarily consider the parents at this point. As the child grows, parents are constantly saying things such as, "You got it!" "Good girl/boy!" "I love you." "C'mon, the peas aren't that bad..try again." "Come to Momma/ can make it. Just a few more steps!"

Parental encouragement develops confidence in the very young and continues throughout the child's life. Even at my age, my mother is still encouraging me to "follow my heart" or "do my best." I don't think she'll ever stop telling me such words. It's in her maternal nature.

Once the child reaches school-age, those who boost his confidence can include teachers, librarians, coaches/activity instructors, music instructors, friends, principals, even his doctor or dentist. Who doesn't love to hear that all is GREAT at a doctor and/or dentist visit? No cavities means Little Johnny is doing a GREAT job cleaning those teeth! There are more and more people who are influencing and encouraging the child -- confidence now is not just reliant on the parent(s) or other family members.

Throughout the school years, however, the child does begin to develop their own sense of self-confidence. Whenever they have a new experience--whether it's the first day of the school year, taking a test, visiting a new friend's house, trying out for a team, joining a club--the more the child has these experiences, the more self-confidence he will have. Repetition of similar experiences not only makes things appear easier, they allow the child to want to try something different.

Since I'm only the expert of my own children, I can tell you that I see this time and time again with my two boys. My younger son is the polar opposite of my older son. Son #2 is very smart, very cerebral, and is always concerned with the "big picture". He's very black and white, so gray areas confuse him or make him uncomfortable. He has tried many sports, and although athletic, none have ever captured his attention. He would rather play his trumpet, fool around on the piano, or play a video game than engage in backyard football. And don't even talk to him about hockey! He consistently scores above 99% on most standardized tests and probably should be in a gifted school. Given his academic talents, you would think that he was the most confident kid. Guess what? He wasn't confident until this past summer. Oh, by the way, he's 13. That seems sort of old, in my mind, to be just finding his confidence in "life", especially when his older brother seemed confident when he started running at 7 months instead of walking. But, after spending twelve days at a fine arts camp, Son #2 was so confident, he seemed like another child when my husband and I picked him up.

What's my point in all of this? I believe that parents are the primary confidence-builders for their kid, but that each person who encounters that child is also partially responsible for building or breaking that child's confidence. Eventually, the child will gain enough self-confidence that minor confidence-breakers from adults/authority figures will just be blips to them and won't produce the devastation of fulling losing their confidence.

How are you a confidence-builder?

Thursday, January 16, 2014


We are so happy that you stopped by Parents for Character. Marian and I are both excited to share ideas, tips, and strategies for helping raise kids with character. We're both parents and we know how tough it is to raise confident kids these days.

We all need confidence, but how do we get it? Are we born with it, or does it develop over time? We believe that confidence, like all character traits, is something that needs to be worked on throughout life. It's easy to do well at something and feel confident. But what happens when we attempt something new, but the result isn't what we expected..and daresay, we feel as if we've failed? Does a confident person give up? Or does a confident person learn from the experience and try again? We will be discussing these questions and more in upcoming posts!

Our new book, Are You Confident Today?, will be published in February and is a great way to start conversations about confidence. 

Here's what one parent said:

"After reading Are You Confident Today?, my daughter Elizabeth (age eleven) and I had a fun talk about being confident and how it helps you stand up to kids who are pains in the neck." ~ Jennifer Backer, mother of two kids

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

What does a confident person look like? Smart? Happy? Talkative? Self-assured? Take a look in the mirror because a confident person is YOU! Are You Confident Today? presents situations that will help build and reinforce confidence in all readers. Are You Confident Today? is part of the Becoming a Better You! series, which strives to highlight character traits which help readers reach their potential and help make a positive impact on the world.