I had a robust self-esteem from early childhood. Surrounded by family, grandparents and great grandparents, I knew I was treasured. I was a good student in my less than rigorous high school. I was a standout in my extracurricular activities as a big fish in a very small pond. I left that cozy environment, yet found that I percolated to the top at the large state university that my parents and grandparents had attended. My young professional days were heady as well with multiple awards for my innovative work. Then I became a homeschool mom.
To be honest, that went very well for some time. I was leader of our local support group, active on a state level, taught and wrote for the community at large. But a series of family crises coupled with the blossoming of my children’s phenomenal gifts left me feeling rather unsure of myself and my ability to guide them. After making a comment to my parents that was something like, “I don’t think I’m smart enough to do this,” my father marched me to another part of the house, away from my children, and proceeded to give me my first and last lecture as an adult.
The crux of his heated words boiled down to the fact that I HAD to be confident in front of my children if I was to earn their respect and the ability to lead them. His passionate statement woke up the paralyzed leader inside.
That event happened years ago when my children were small. We’ve been through even harder times, yet we’ve had glorious successes as a family. While we weren’t perfect, from the moment of my father’s lecture I regained control of my wayward emotions and my fears to become the trailblazer my children needed. Even though I went through times of intense doubt, I tried to always be strong for them. My words and actions were carefully monitored to keep their respect and their confidence in my ability to guide them.
Now that I am on the other side of all that, I realize that my choice to be outwardly self-assured was probably the best gift I could have given them. And it was the best gift I gave myself. By choosing an action that doesn’t necessarily agree with what you feel inside, you are forming habits. And habits eventually become truth. I came to understand that, while my kids were better at some things than I was, I was better at some things than they were. The intelligence level of parents and children is very similar even though it may manifest in different ways. Remember that the next time you are intimidated or wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into. Your confidence sets the stage for the development of their own.
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