I was sitting by the pool side, children of all age-groups splashing around in the summer sun and warm water, guided by their respective coaches. Something one of the coaches spoke aloud to one of the mums there, triggered my thought and hence my post. He said to the 5 year old’smother “Acha confidence hai, tabhiseekhrahahai.” (He has a good confidence level and therefore is learning).
I had been listening to miserable crying, howling, screaming and yelling by both children and mothers for the past one month. Fear of the deep side of the pool grips young children and teens alike. Most parents seemed to be keen on their children learning to swim. None of the children seemed interested. In fact, most were quite unhappy to even be there! Let’s ask why? Maybe because a small number are genuinely not water bodies. They do not like to splash around and are not very keen on spending so much energy! What about the rest? What is it that is missing? The curiosity to learn something new?The adventure of going into deep water? The need to conquer the fear they feel? Do they not realise the high they will experience after having achieved what they targeted? Have they learnt how to harness their inner strength to complete a task?
So where do we begin….when is it that we specifically think about Self-Confidence as a survival skill in today’s world rather than just a social skill or life skill? If you reflect upon your experience as a parent, you will realize there is no good or apt time to start. There are normal, real life situations that help us create an environment for them to learn this quality. We build these for our children so they can adapt to skills like problem solving, and developing grit and resilience under controlled conditions (without them realizing it of course!). And we can start as early as infancy. The mobile hanging on top of your child’s bed and the act of him reaching out for it is learning in itself! Have you not seen him cry after some time? It is because he made it his occupation to try and clutch it. Tried, tried very hard. And when didn’t succeed, got frustrated. Starting to crawl or walk. Place something not too far or near and observe what happens. There is no child that does not have an inherent curiosity about it. He is bound to move towards it. Our role as parents and what we do next will determine how he feels about himself! Help him achieve his target. Be happy for him. Share his joy when he clutches the toy in his hand. Hug him, kiss him. If he is not able to get to it, and this happens too many times, he is bound to give up. He will learn to connect to the feeling of “giving-up.”