- Self-confidence comes when we overcome challenges, not from being told that we are a success even when we aren't -
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The game was over and I saw one mom put her arm around her son, saying, “Don’t feel bad, Hunter. You played really well.”
“Don’t say that, Mom! We lost! I struck out three times. Don’t tell me I played well when I didn’t! It doesn’t do any good. It’s a big fat lie and I hate it! All the parents do that and we all hate it. Why do you do stuff like that? It’s stupid!”
Hunter pulled away and stalked off.
I almost wanted to yell, “Hey, everybody. Listen to that wise little kid. He’s going to be a great psychologist some day.” But I knew if I did that I would be permanently banned from the ball field, never again to have the joy of watching youth baseball.
Overhearing this exchange caused me to remember my days playing Old Timers Youth Baseball. There were no parents lying to us about how well we played. At the end of a losing game, it was common for kids to hear, “I’m sorry that didn’t go well. There will be other days, and with some practice, maybe things will go better.”
This kind of talk was based on the belief that self-confidence comes when we overcome challenges and become successful, not from being told that we are a success even when we aren’t.
In those days we didn’t all get trophies for participation. There were no awards for showing up and for breathing on our own. At the end of the season there was one trophy for the team that won, and we all worked hard to earn it, because if we did, we’d be the only ones to take it home, and it would really mean something.
We love our kids and it is tempting to try to salve their disappointments just as Hunter’s mother did, but, as Hunter so eloquently advised us, it’s counterproductive.
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Jim Fay
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