I whole heartedly believe that any and all success that has happened in my life have been gained by confidence. It’s the single biggest lesson we are actively being very intentional with while raising the girls. I believe with confidence, they won’t be talked into situations that they don’t want to be a part of, they will feel good about standing for what they believe and not be swayed by their peers, they can move and shake in life knowing that they can handle any situation etc. Here are some of the very intentional ways and practical steps we are working on our building confidence in our girls.
Enforcing their voices- listening and hearing their thoughts. Of course, not everything they have to say is riveting or interesting, but to them it is, so we like to give them a platform for it each night. When we sit down for dinner, we take turns sharing the best part of our days. We very intentionally don’t discuss the negative. We find that giving any air space to negative just sucks the life out of the night and isn’t what we want to give attention too. We want them to be focused on finding the good always in their day. We go around each of us and discuss the best part of our day. It can be anything from crushing a test, seeing a butterfly, eating a really good sandwich or getting to wear our new shoes. Anything goes! Letting them actively share what’s on their mind has been really interesting. We are trying to make sure that both of them know that their voices are important to us.
Not everyone is thinking about you- to juxtapose the above, we also are very intentional with making sure that we instill the certainty that not everyone is thinking about them. Everyone is worried about their own stuff. We don’t take things personally. We aim to not overthink and just believe the best of intentions from everyone. We can only control ourselves not others and we can’t worry ourselves about what someone else may or may not be thinking or doing. Stay in our own lane.
Self deprication- to piggy back on the last topic, we keep a really strong sense of humor in our house. Really strong! We tease insesently! We are very conscientious to be kind but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Both Erik and I have pretty similar senses of humor. I really never take myself to seriously and can whole heartedly poke fun at myself. None of us are perfect and will never be! Why not keep our opinions of ourselves light and fun. We know who we are and what we stand for, the rest is just fun. Nothing can be that serious! Drama free house is the goal always! Check back with me in a couple years when all of us are pmsing at the same time!
Valuing their opinions on silly topics like shoes and what dress to wear- my dad gave me this advice a while back and I really took it to heart. He suggested giving the girl’s some say in things like what shoes I should wear to date night, what lipstick works best, or which earrings. It’s fun to see what their tastes are and what they think looks good together. I know these are fairly frivolous things to be deciding on but it gets them involved and subtly lets them know that they opinions matter to me. It also teaches them how to put together an outfit for an occasion and what goes into the look.
Letting them be in charge of adult things like the airport and parking places- this one is HUGE!!!! We are so fortunate to travel a lot as a family but also with my mom for our girl’s trips. When I was little she would give us our tickets at an airport and we were supposed to lead the way to our gate. We do this with every trip we do. If they know how to navigate their world they will be less intimidated when they get to adventure on their own. This practice also helps teach them how to problem solve when things get confusing or tricky.
Enforcing social graces like eye contact and conversation skills- this is such a lost art in our digital age. There is nothing more powerful than eye contact and conversation skills. To be able to enter any room and not be a wallflower is big in our house! There will be a lot of situations in their life where they are uncomfortable or not sure how to interject themselves but by leading with a smile and knowing how to converse they will be able to handle any awkward moments. We practice this every time we sit down for dinner with our “best day” conversations. Each person has to follow up with a question about each other’s day . This helps teach them to ask about others and not just talk about themselves. We also are very hard core with eye contact and manners in restaurants. Each of them has to order their meal for themselves, look at the waiter, smile and use their pleases and thank you’s. This includes every time the waiter fills their water. They are taught to stop what they are doing look up at the waiter and say thank you every time. It’s a lot but we feel it’s so important to teach them that they are not the most important person there and to acknowledge when someone does something for them.
All in all, we aim to raise them to feel good about their choices. To make decisions on their own and never be followers. If we reinforce these things with not only words but by actions and exercises daily, we hope that when they get into a tricky situation they can fall back on who they are and what they know.