Confidence - A word that conjures up a mulititude of images. Like everything in life, the pictures depend on our personal experiences and perspective. As a father, what can I do to instill confidence in my children so they believe they can live their dreams? As a husband, what can I do to support my wife and the job she is doing in balancing her many hats? As a professional, it is very important to instill confidence in people who come for help.
The REALLY BIG QUESTION.......
What does a person who struggles with a high incidence disability rely on to build the confidence to "try and try again"? When that persistence ends in hurt feelings, skinned knees, and maybe one less friend - what do each of us do to be the type of person they need at that moment?
I love that challenge! When do you push and when do you support? Confidence comes in the most unassuming of packages. The beauty of youth, disabled and not, is resilience. Resilience when faced with questions like, "why do I do that?", "why won't anyone talk to me?", "why can't I run as fast as him/her?", "why?", "why?", "why?". Now add to that the struggle that you cannot communicate your questions or self doubt because you don't know the words, don't have the luxury of spoken language, or did something that shame overrides the question. You see, I believe that no one likes self doubt, no one is happy after a tantrum, and no matter what a standardized test says or a label someone is given - human beings are social creatures. Imagine waking up everyday and going out into the world, knowing their are very few people who understand (or accept) what you are struggling with. Getting your feet on the floor to start your day knowing that is the challenge you face everyday takes confidence in self and perseverance.
Are we, as a society confident enough in ourselves to support those who need a friend when no else will befriend them, to ask if there is anything you can do to help, or just treat someone who looks or acts different like a person with feelings.
I love seeing individuals with disabilities having new opportunities opened up daily. I am even more excited to be a part of it. Sunday morning in Norwich I will help kids get back on a skateboard after losing their balance or scraping their knee, Monday I will work with a high school student who will struggle to say "hello" yet moments later demonstrate increased confidence by asking questions in front of a group, and all week in Groton and Waterford trusting that they can do what we tell them they can do - humbling.
Confidence. Do you have it? I know mine is tested each day when my child watches how I manage frustration and learns from it. It is tested when a parent calls with hope that we can come up with a new and exciting program for their child. Most importantly, during those quiet hours before falling asleep, confidence that I did my best that day to be the best husband, father, and service provider possible.
With humble confidence to do it again tomorrow,