Building Confident Kids

I’m so lucky to have tons of opportunities to connect with our campers throughout the summer. While are a lot of fun, one of my favorite nights is spent with our rising 10th and 11th graders.

 On separate nights for the young ladies and young men, we gather at the beach, cook together, and then sit around the campfire to talk and laugh and learn about big issues.

This past summer, one of our CITs asked an important question and I didn’t do a very good job answering it. So, I’m going to try to do better now.  

The question was ‘How do you become confident?’

It’s important question, especially for young people. It’s important because there are going to be a lot of times in their lives when they don’t feel confident but they really, really want to be.

Interest vs. Commitment

Here’s the thing: when you are interested in something, you come up with all these excuses and plans and reasons and circumstances on why you can’t or it won’t work.

But if you are committed to something, you find a way.  

In this light, the important question is not ‘How do I become more confident?’ Rather, it’s ‘What am I going to completely commit myself to?’

Now, that’s a bit dangerous because it requires you to think a bit about the future. You can’t truly commit to something unless you can clearly envision what your world will be like when you get there.

A Confident Future

The most common way to deal with the future is to try to predict it. To be in the right place at the right time with the right skills or investments.

A far more successful and reliable approach is to invent the future. Not all of it, mind you. Just a little part. But enough of a part to make a difference.

And, how do you invent that future when you don’t have the right skills/background/experience/knowledge? You do it by controlling two things you have total and complete power over:

  1. Your attitude and

  2. Your effort

You can bring more generosity of spirit, more enthusiasm, more kindness, more resilience, more positive energy, more bravery and more curiosity to the situation than anyone else. You can ask for help, accept your mistakes and learn from them. You can get back up over and over and over again.

Because you choose to. Because you are committed.

The good news is the list of activities above take absolutely zero innate talent. You just have to keep showing up and learning. And, one day down the road, after you’ve gained experience through the pursuit of that commitment, you’ll find yourself confident.

It doesn’t matter if you are four, fourteen, or forty. You’ve always got a opportunity to commit.

Have a great week!

*Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash