Confidence the Greatest Gift of All – Gary’s April Gems
The greatest gift we can give our children is confidence. Before they start school, home is their world to explore with new land around every corner, a new “thingy” to touch, smell and taste. And with every new discovery, they become more confident.
Have you ever watched a child’s journey to their first step? It’s a feat worthy of the first moonwalk. (Neil Armstrong not Michael Jackson). They start by moving their arms and legs simultaneously like a beached turtle. All loco, no motion.
Next step. They gather enough strength to push up. Now they can see the horizon where the carpet ends and the sofa looms over them like a mountain. Now they’re motivated to propel their body forward. They moved! They repeat and repeat until they’re able to touch the base of the mountain one day.
Grabbing firmly they start to climb hand over hand. Then like the first fish that came on the land and started to walk, the child is teetering on their legs. He can almost reach the first plateau of the mountain. He looks around to see if anyone has witnessed this monumental feat.
In so doing, the child falls. Undeterred.
He starts the climb again.
And on and on we walk, peddle, drive and fly. We are motivated to wonder where the next step will take us each time. With every step, a lesson is learned and with each lesson learned, we become more confident. The journey doesn’t follow a straight line. Every time we fall on our asses we pick ourselves up and start again.
My father took self-confidence to another level. He wouldn’t have achieved the success he had otherwise. I, on the other hand, was an introspective kid. Not reclusive, but I did tend to live in my head. While my father faked it until he made it, I was never good at faking anything. My mother could see right through me. Faking a cold to get out of school never worked. I preferred solo activities like running and skiing to team sports like hockey when it came to sports.
I only started living “outside” my head when I started travelling. My first trip abroad was a short solo tour of Europe when I was in my mid-twenties. Just making that decision, buying the ticket and boarding the plane was an adventure for me.
I am still not crazy about the “travelling” part of a journey but love “being” in different places. Being as curious as I am, I enjoy being surrounded by people speaking different languages, eating different food and leading completely different lives. Travelling added the smells, sounds and textures to exotic places I saw only in two dimensions.
I wish travel was part of every school’s curriculum. Every student should be given at least two weeks to travel outside their country. I won’t hold my breath. If you travelled abroad, you know the advantages. Travel is one of the best ways to instil confidence and maturity. It’s ironic that by being a stranger in a strange place we are given a clearer sense of who we are and what we stand for.
Every time we accomplish something, we build our self-esteem. Little successes are the building blocks to a healthy level of self-confidence.
The only way to accomplish things is to do things.
Our self-confidence builds every time we experience something new, push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, and pick ourselves up after a failure. New discoveries bring new perspectives.
Because I have a bottomless well of curiosity, I travelled from one new discovery to another. While looking through old vacation photos for this issue of the Gems, I realised that through all that travelling, the greatest discovery of all was “me”.
“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be”
by Michael Masser and Linda Creed