For Every Woman Who Wants to Raise a Confident Daughter (or son)

Dad called yesterday.

“Mom made pea salad. Made her think of you. She’s standing in the kitchen with tears in her eyes.”

And suddenly the memory came flooding back…

It was early evening on a spring day. Or was it summer? I can’t recall. But Mom was up to her elbows in dirt. She’d been working in the yard and wasn’t close to finishing.

“Donna”, she called from the edge of the yard, “do you think you could make dinner?”

Dinner? Me? I was ten. I’d never made dinner. Her request made me feel trusted. Competent. So. Grown. Up.

“I’ll tell you exactly what to make. All you need to do is follow my instructions. Do you think you could do that? It would really help me out.”

I gulped. Nodded,”yes”.

I hurried to the kitchen and began the preparations. Chicken casserole with cream of mushroom soup. Rice. Pea Salad.

Easy. Southern. So 1970’s.

45 minutes later the meal was ready. I set the table and called everyone to dinner. Mom washed the dirt off her hands, and sat down. She breathed a sigh mixed with equal parts exhaustion and gratitude. Said she’d never tasted anything so good.

Even now the memory makes me smile.

What I remember most though, isn’t the food, but the feeling: The feeling that mom believed I was capable of doing something I’d never done. The feeling of accomplishment when I did.

This is how you build confidence in others—adult or child; your kid or your co-worker: You ask. You tell them how. You let them go.

Then you watch them grow.

In confidence. In competence. In courage. In conviction.

In this world where we’re told to raise empowered young women (and young men), where so many try to prove their worth by raising their voice, we must understand confidence isn’t forged through shouting, but through showing.

[bctt tweet=”Confidence is honed in the home. ” username=”donnajonesspeak”]

When we act confident in our daughters, they act confident in themselves.

If we act like they are competent, they’ll act like they are competent.

But if we micro-manage, they won’t learn to manage. And if we’re quick to criticize, they’ll be quick to quit.

Having raised two daughters and a son, I’ve observed my fair share of moms who push their kids to the top. Be the best. Do the best. Have the best. You are the best.

But what if instead of pushing our daughters, we prepared them, instead?

What if we focused on who they will become more than what they will become?

A confident woman doesn’t have to scream and shout to get the world to believe she’s worthy. Her validation doesn’t come from without; it comes from within.

Ultimately it comes from God.

True confidence is rarely built on big acts of boldness, but on small acts of bravery.

Like making dinner for the very first time.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Do you model confidence to your kids?
  2. Do you encourage your child to try new things? Do you try new things?
  3. Do you find yourself stepping in to “help” because it’s easier if you do something rather than allow your child to do it herself? (we all do this sometimes…but do you do it a lot?)
  4. In your speech, are you more likely to “praise your child up” or “put your child down”?

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