I recently attended a funeral where my cousin stood up and spoke about her dad, Jerry, who passed away suddenly. She was sharing her thoughts and I realized she had answered a question that has puzzled me for years: How do you raise a confident daughter?
There were a few things that resonated with me. I believe any parent can do these simple but effective things with their child, daughter or a son for that matter.
1) Listening. Really Listening. Shawna shared with everyone that she never felt more like herself then when she was in conversation with her father. She used the example of driving all the way home from Pittsburg for six hours talking and they never noticed that they never turned the radio on. Kids love to talk but not always when it’s convenient for you. Find time where you can really “be in the moment” and get lost in conversation with your child.
2) Doing what you love together in your own way. Jerry loved to fish. All the boys always went fishing. His daughter had no desire to fish but did that mean she would miss out in something her dad loved? No, she always went with them and brought her favorite thing, a book. She read while they fished and she got just as much joy for being a part of the day in her own way. How often do we want our kids to play the same sports we did as a child, be a great student, get an after-school job just like we did? Are we really looking at things our kids love and finding ways to enjoy each other’s passions?
3) She always knew her father loved her. If she made a good choice or bad choice, she knew her father would still love her. The love he had for her was not based on her accomplishments, her grades or ability on a spots team. It was just loving her for her. Do we send the same message to our children? It is so powerful and simple in the same breath.
When someone passes away, it is a time to reflect on all they accomplished in life. Great family, successful business, houses, cars… wow I totally missed this one! One of his greatest accomplishments was to raise a confident daughter who stood up and shared with everyone at the service what a wonderful father he was. There is no doubt that he was looking down on her that day, swaying back and forth like he always did and had smile you couldn’t wipe from his face.
If I accomplish nothing more in this life than to raise confident children, I will consider myself one of the “richest” people to leave the earth. Rest in Peace Jerry.
Buzz Worthy Lesson: Practice the keys to confidence for your child: Listen, love and share passions together in your own way.