Would you throw away a tarnished spoon? Of course not. All you have to do to reveal the luster is polish it. After all, the spoon is not made of tarnish; its beauty and value are only obscured by it. The next time you look at a kid try to focus on the silver instead of the tarnish. That’s the first step in polishing the brightness into our kids. Brad Jubin, APIVEO
volunteer youth coach
This article was inspired by Emmitt Smith.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about youth sports. We talked about the lifelong benefits of being involved in sports as a kid. At one point during the conversation, my friend became very serious and declared that “confidence” was the greatest life lesson he learned through his years of participating in sports. I was truly impressed with his confidence when he said “confidence” and I wanted to learn more about it.
Over the years I have used the word “confidence” countless times and in countless situations. But what is confidence? I know there’s a lot more to confidence than just having “a feeling of assurance, especially self-assurance.” How do we intentionally share the concept of confidence with our kids, so that they can grow up confidently?
Golf legend Jack Nicklaus once said, “Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work.”
From the golf course to the gridiron to the executive board room, confidence is built through hard work and dedication to a specific goal. Confidence grows in us as we work toward that goal. A football player is confident because of the hours, weeks, months and years he has invested in his abilities. In the same way, a gymnast wouldn’t have the confidence to attempt a flip on a four inch piece of wood if she hadn’t worked her way up to it through practice and effort. Confidence is built in the same way any skill or talent is honed and perfected; with great effort.
Emmitt Smith is a confident man. He is also the reigning NFL All-Time leading rusher, a Dancing with the Stars Champion and responsible for a flood of tears during his Hall of Fame induction speech. Each of these accomplishments in and of itself confirm that Emmitt Smith is a confident man. But when you look at the effort behind the accomplishment, it’s easy to see that his confidence came from hard work. In his book “GAME ON”, Emmitt Smith said that his emotional speech at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony came after hundreds of hours of work, practice and effort. Confidence is the direct result of hard work. Confidence is the fruit of our labor.
So how do we bring up confident kids? The first step is to stop “telling” them to be confident; confidence is not a feeling that they can simply experience on demand. The second step is to help kids discover their talents and gifts. Then we must enable them to work at becoming better and stronger in those areas. Finally, we should help them find opportunities where they can share their gifts and talents to benefit and help others.
On a personal note: I write articles to share ideas that will help kids learn about leadership and character. This article took me at least 100 times longer to write than it took you to read. For that reason, I am confident in sharing it with you.
This article was previously shared on TeamSnap.
As a youth coach, I start every season visualizing each player as a piece of clay. Why clay? Clay can be shaped and molded. It can be flat as a pancake or long and skinny like a pencil. It can be rolled into a ball or formed into a square. In fact, clay can become almost any shape you can image. The amazing thing about sculpting clay is there is no waste. No matter what you create, you can use every bit of the clay you have.
Recently, I wrote an article about confidence inspired by a friend’s answer to a question I had asked, “What is the most important thing you learned playing youth sports?” There is no doubt our children learn a great deal through their involvement in sports. While I was impressed by my friend’s stories about his youth sports days, I had no experiences to share or reflect on. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to play any sports until high school, so I was unable to answer this question myself. Fortunately, we never stop learning. I am a volunteer youth coach and coaching kids has been among the most enlightening and enriching times of my life. This led me to ask myself a slightly different question, “What is the single most important thing I have learned coaching youth sports?”
Leaders have courage to remain positive in difficult situations.
This lesson will illustrate the value of courage when we experience difficult times. When things are going well we tend to relax and believe that they will continue. During this time our confidence is high and we are open to many opportunities. However, as problems arise and our “luck” begins to change we become cautious. Caution causes us to close down and miss opportunities. Caution can quickly grow into panic as we shut down and try to hang onto what we already have.