I was not a very confident child. I don’t know if my DNA was programmed like that (or if it even could be) or if I failed to develop confidence in myself due to family dynamics. Could it have been school relationships or societal expectations of children at the time I was young? I don’t know. And I really don’t think about it except when I am in a contemplative mood. It took me years (and I actually mean decades) to develop a sense of self-confidence. And, in truth, it’s something that I can still struggle with from time to time. So when I heard what happened to Owen, my 9-year-old grandson, I was in awe of him.
Owen is a gifted child. With that comes both positives and negatives. One of the negatives is that school is boring for him. His intellectual level is way beyond his grade level. Because of that, his parents have had to advocate for him and his needs. He will be entering a school for gifted children next year, so thankfully that is in the future, but for now? His regular teacher is amazing and works really hard to keep Owen engaged in learning this year. She gives him special assignments and lets him work at his own pace.
Last week, Owen’s teacher and another teacher switched classrooms. I don’t know why, and it doesn’t matter. Owen, as usual, was doing his own work. At one point, he raised his hand, and when the teacher acknowledged him, he said he had a question. She replied, “I can’t stop what I am teaching to help just you.” Owen said, “But I have a question,” to which the teacher replied, “That’s not my problem.”
I know most teachers wouldn’t respond like this. I’m not telling this story to criticize the teacher. That would be another subject.
I’m telling this story to tell you what happened next.
Owen has a very strong sense of what is right and what is wrong, and he believed the teacher was wrong to speak to him like that. And, sure, it hurt his feelings to be spoken to like that; it’s something he’s not used to. After class, Owen went to the School Office to talk to the Secretary, who is a friend of his Mom. She was a source of comfort and support. After they talked, she asked, “Would you like to speak to the Principal about this?”
And Owen said, “Well, yes, I would.” Exact words.
And that’s it. That’s why I tell this story. Owen, at 9, has more confidence than some adults; at times, that would include me.
I absolutely love that about him. His self-confidence.
So was Owen born with this trait, or was it nourished in him? Again, I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. I just know it is amazing to see this little 9-year-old, who loves BeyBlades and riding his bike and all of the things that 9-year-old boys like to do, also have this solid sense of who he is and how he deserves to be treated.
If you have or know of someone who could benefit from advice on how to help develop self-confidence in children, 25 Things You Can Do Right Now to Build a Child’s Confidence is a great resource.