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Getting air - a football player jumping into the air to catch a pass

Getting Air

My son, Nathaniel’s, football team was playing in a seven vs. seven touch football tournament involving eight high schools. In seven vs. seven, the football field is divided down the 50-yard line allowing four teams to be playing at the same time.

Starting from the 50-yard line, the teams facing the goal post are on offense and the other teams are on defense.  The offense is very pass oriented offering my son and the other wide receivers opportunities for dramatic catches, especially in the end zone. 

During the games, I ran into my one of my son’s coaches – Art.  Art shared several kind words about Nathaniel’s coachability, attitude and his ability.

However, he grabbed my full attention when he mentioned he felt Nathaniel lacked confidence in his ability. This came as a shock considering last year as a sophomore Nathaniel was voted all-league.

Art went on to mention how he each game he sets a performance goal for Nathaniel. He enthusiastically shared Nathaniel’s goal for today’s was to get some air.

He challenged Nathaniel to jump in the air to catch a pass in the end zone.  A smile came across his face as he expressed how proud he was of Nathaniel when he leaped into the end zone to catch a touchdown pass.

According to the well-known and highly respected pediatrician Dr. Sears.

“Self-esteem is your child’s passport to lifetime mental health and social happiness. It’s the foundation of a child’s well-being and the key to success as an adult.”

As a parent, I know building Nathaniel’s confidence is an important part of my responsibilities as a parent. I understand the importance of confidence when it comes to facing our fears, taking risks, working through life’s challenges and yes jumping in the end zone to catch a pass.    

How Parents Can Contribute To A Healthy Self-Confidence

Remember your ABC’s – Acceptance, Belonging, and Competence.

  • Acceptance

If you’re turned off by your child’s choice of music or clothes you’re sending them a message that not only is their behavior unacceptable but they are unacceptable.

If your child doesn’t feel accepted by you, they’ll look for acceptance from their friends. When you unconditionally accept your children, they’ll be less likely to seek acceptance from a peer group and they develop a healthier self-esteem. 

To send a strong message your child is accepted, listen and ask questions to show you care about their interests and concern – develop a relationship with your kids.  According to Dr. James Leman,

“Without a relationship, your rules, your words and your actions mean nothing. The wedge between you and your children will drive them toward acceptance and belonging in a group outside your home.”

  • Belonging

Everyone wants to belong regardless of their age.  How can you give your children a sense of belonging? 

By creating a community within your family.  To achieve this give your child a say in decisions, listen to what they have to say and supporting them in their activities.

By giving your a healthy self-esteem, a sense of belonging helps your child resist peer pressure and creates a set of expectations for your children to achieve.

  • Competence

The third way to build confidence in your kids is to give them the gift of competence. Children become competent when they experience life first hand.

If you are an overprotective/helicopter parent, you’ll need to fight the urge to do for your kids what they can do for themselves.

When a mother eagle wants her baby to fly, she waits until her eaglet is 80% of his adult size. She then sets the baby eagle on the edge of the nest and pushes them off into the wild blue. She watches her baby freefall, then swoops down just in time to catch them on her wings. The mom eagle repeats this over and over until the baby eaglet learns to fly

By doing this, her baby’s confidence grows. Imagine if she was overly protective. Her eaglet would never learn to fly; he’d never mature.

In the same way, kids mature and develop a healthy self-esteem and growing confidence by experiencing life first hand, even if it means that sometimes making mistakes.

Our culture teaches us these things about confidence

  • It’s developed from within, 
  • We can be or do anything we set our minds to,
  • Involves reliance on our abilities, willpower, and inner strength,
  • A belief in your talents is needed so you’ll improve, reach new goals and persevere when the going gets tough.

Despite our best efforts as parents, we can’t give our children a lasting confidence. Our humanity won’t allow it.

The reality is you can’t be anything you want or do anything you want. Self-confidence alone isn’t enough to get you what you want.

Where will your children turn they figure this out and face doubt and uncertainty for the first time?

As parents, it’s important to teach your children to have confidence in the source of their talents and strengths – God.

Teach them to build their confidence in God and who He is. His faithfulness will never falter.

About The Author

Gerardo Campbell is a Nebraska native who now calls Silicon Valley, California home. In 1995, Gerardo married his wife Roberta aka the Pretty Lady and became the stepdad to her two children. In 2011, he started the website Support for Stepfathers in an effort to reverse the nearly 70% divorce rate for blended families in the United States. His website is to help and inspire stepfathers, aspiring stepfathers and the women who love them worldwide. You can follow Support for Stepdads on Twitter @support4stepdad and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/resourcesforstepfathers.

 

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