I’m very keen to see my kids develop their confidence. I still remember when I was Jack’s age (12), I would refuse to take off my school blazer because I thought my bum was too big. When I was about 13 I was so scared to play the keyboard in a performance, I threw such a tantrum that mum let me leave without playing.
I was bullied at high school for being a muso and when my dad died at the start of year 8, I had to leave Blacky High because I simply didn’t have the confidence to cope.
But it wasn’t all bad. I played a mean water-polo and won most of my swimming events through middle-school. I still remember how proud I was to play a trumpet duet to the whole high school and I really really thought I had a chance with Lauren Smallwood in year 7 (I really really didn’t).
When I threw Tony Whitehead – my biggest arch-bully – out the classroom window one day, my confidence soared through the roof… until the level coordinator called me into his office. ; )
I really want my kids to be different. I want them to go through life having a go at every stage and I intend to give them the opportunities to do so. I must admit… when I hear the hint of a bully incident at school my hackles flair up in an instant… something for me to stay very aware of.
Jack is starting to show much more confidence. He displayed some of it last night. An Indian fellow from a call-centre rang and I heard one side of a rather interesting conversation, the blanks of which (the caller’s words) have now been filled in by Jack…
- Caller – “Hello, I’m working in a call centre for the big four banks. I don’t want to sell you anything. I just have a few simple questions.”
- Jack – “Ok. Go ahead.”
- Caller – “Which bank are you with ma’am?”
- Jack – “I’m with Trident.” – he says as he examines the brand of chilli sauce on the table.
- Caller – “Oh, ok. I haven’t heard of that one. Do you have a home loan with Trident?”
- Jack – ”Yes I do.”
- Caller – “How much is your home loan ma’am?”
- Jack – “It’s one dollar.”
- Caller – “Ok. Thankyou for your time.”
- Jack – “Bye bye. I love you.” (significant giggling)
Both Jack and Kate had first place wins in the most recent Clasax competition and followed up with performances at the Clasax concert… a pretty big deal. I often think of those performances I refused to go through with, and realise what an effort they put in to fight the nerves I know they feel.
Jess and Kate – first prize 11 and under – duets
Jack is set to perform an accompanied solo next Tuesday for the schools night of music. His rehearsal sounded fantastic (geeeeez he’s good!) but on our way home, the extent of his nervousness was exposed. In this case though, I can see him considering it and contemplating ways he’s going to deal with it. Much more mature than me!
Jack – first prize 13 and under – solo
Throughout my most recent experiences at school camp last week, I had the opportunity to observe the politics of year 5. Believe me… it’s a jungle out there. It so easy to see how simple and very brief events can determine much of a child’s personality forever.
Little events or moments in relationships brought back memories to me of similar things in my childhood which I know had a significant affect on how I turned out. Amazing really. And amazing the responsibility we have as parents – and teachers in this case – to do our best to ensure they have the best experiences possible. It actually blows my mind to consider how important that is!
Anyway… Jack again showed his confidence today as he rode off my wheel as we headed up to the coffee shop this morning. My pleas to ease it up still work for the moment. I don’t expect that in a year or so.