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We recognize confidence in our children when we see them make a choice and follow through with action. We couldn’t be more proud than when they realize they made a wrong choice, and are secure enough in their identity to learn from their mistake, move on, and make a better choice next time. We notice it when they own their decisions and don’t blame others or make excuses for mistakes. We see it when they are not afraid of failure or judgment.

To build this kind of confidence in a child, we need to teach them the concept of taking a calculated risk. For the child who likes to think everything through and analyze until the cows come home the key word is, “risk.” For the child who throws caution to the wind and makes split second decisions, the key word is, “calculated.”

Our challenge as parents and teachers is to guide our children along this process of learning how to take a calculated risk. We have to be careful not to push them outside of their natural bent while at the same time moving them towards the middle ground between thinking but never doing, or doing without thinking.

At Raising Leaders for Life we believe that confidence is not:

  • Created by pulling someone where they don’t want to go.

  • Created by leaving someone where they shouldn’t be.

We believe that confidence is:

  • Created from the inside out.

  • Revealed when we take a risk and do our best.

So what does creating this kind of confidence actually look like?

I love working with children as an instructor because I get to see and appreciate how each child is different. These differences aren’t good nor bad. They just are. Different strengths, talents, and personality traits are what make all my students unique. I love every one of them.

I grew up with four siblings. We all have vastly different personalities. My parents could not take the same parenting strategy with each child. We all needed to be pushed in different areas. We all needed to be reigned back in different areas. One thing that I appreciate about my parents is that, instead of trying to change our personality, they always looked for our natural strengths and built on those. Through their teaching, we’ve learned how to think things out, but to also take risks and pursue dreams without fear.

Fear of failure, or fear of being judged; These can paralyze us and keep us from pursuing our dreams with bold actions. But fear is not necessarily bad. It’s an emotion. So listen to it, figure out what it’s warning you about, but then move forward. Helping children learn how to take action with confidence will help them learn how to overcome fear.

I’m not a parent. I do, however, have the privilege of being a Martial Arts Instructor to many children. As I think about my students, these are some things I want them to know and practice about confidence and action:

  • Take action with confidence. Give them opportunities to try new things in an environment where it’s okay to make a mistake.

  • Think before taking action. Present them with a difficult decision the family is facing and let them process the possible rewards or consequences.

  • Make choices and be willing to either enjoy the rewards or deal with the consequences. This one is tough because we can’t bluff. We have to hold our children/students accountable for their choices.

  • Never make excuses. Instead, learn from mistakes. Help them look for the life lessons. What actions should they repeat next time? What actions should they avoid?

  • Know when its appropriate to act and when it’s appropriate to wait. Show them when they need to practice patience while they take actions towards a goal.

  • Learn from fear and move on, instead of listening to fear and getting stuck. Teach them how to recognize and process the emotion of fear. Help them understand that deciding to take no action is still an action.

  • Pursue dreams with bold actions. Listen for your child’s dreams and encourage them to pursue those dreams. Explain the power of goal setting.

Actions make dreams possible.

We are partnering with my good friend Tiffany Rave to bring you this series on Confidence. Check out her blog to learn more about how you can model confidence for your child.

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