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Teaching a kid to believe in himself…priceless

on April 24, 2012

I haven’t had a blog entry about my nephews in a while. This week, though, both E&N showed me the value of building confidence in kids (and the flip-side of this is no doubt that confidence is much more easily shattered than it is built and realizing this means that I will try even harder to do my part to empower E&N whenever I can.)

I pick up E from school two or three times a week and when we arrive at Grandma and Grandpa’s, E likes to challenge me to race him to the door. He wins a lot of the time and I win once in a while – sometimes because E lets me. 🙂 And sometimes because I think it’s good for kids to learn that it’s okay to try again another time and to not give up. Well, yesterday E had his hands full with his backpack and some extra homework materials. I had my hands full with his car seat, his coat, my coat, my purse, and my workout bag. E said something about he didn’t want to race this time since he’d probably lose since he had so much stuff.

I thought, TEACHABLE MOMENT! And so I said to E that if he thinks he’s going to lose, he will and that if he thinks he’s going to win, he will. Then I asked him what he thought would happen if we raced. He still said he thought he’d lose. We repeated this dialogue a few times. Finally, I said, well, why don’t we race and see what happens. He agreed. And then he won. So then I asked him what he thought and he said he really wanted to win even though he had a lot of stuff to carry. And when I pointed out to him that he made it happen because he really wanted it and that didn’t he think that it’s a good idea to believe he could win if he really wanted to and believed he could. He agreed somewhat unconvincingly. Then today, as we approached my parents’ house, he declared that he was going to win again today because he had decided that was how the race was going to go today. I asked him if he was sure he’d win and he said, yes, because you said if I think I can win I will. Well, he won again today. Tomorrow might be a different story – I wouldn’t want E to become as cocky as I am just yet…

Now, onto N, who has been really struggling with his spelling in the past few weeks. He and I had a chat yesterday about how smart he is and how quickly and accurately he gets through his homework when he pays attention and focuses. He did a pretty decent job on his spelling words yesterday and I said that he clearly knows how to spell this week’s words and that he could think of it as levels in his Nintendo DS games – each week that he gets his spelling words correct is similar to getting one level higher in a game.

Well, lo and behold, today, N did his list of spelling words in record time (we’re talking maybe two minutes flat for six words) and they were one hundred per cent correct. With only a slight bit of help from me on one word. N was super proud of himself and his face lit up when I high-fived him and told him how proud I am of him. He couldn’t stop telling my parents, E, and me that he got all of his spelling words correct all on his own and that he really is smart. Wow. Then he turned to me and said that he’s going to try to focus whenever we do homework because that means he’s done faster and can get to winning levels on his DS. How cool is that?


2 responses to “Teaching a kid to believe in himself…priceless

  1. Laura says:

    A beautiful story, Narmin. This is a teacher/mentor at her best… tapping into a child’s passion so that they discover their own way forward!

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