I sometimes wonder where confidence comes from. Like anything important, it comes from lots of places. I think one of the things that has helped my confidence is doing things like keeping these notes of encouragement…valuing them, remembering them. I had a conversation with a friend of Theresa’s and mine once where she confessed if someone complimented her she found her immediate response was to try to talk them out of the compliment. To argue "no, I’m not really so good at that and here’s why." At first, I thought it was almost comical. It sounded like a skit: I’m worse than you think. Of course, it’s really not funny at all. It helped me realize that the very least I can do is accept someone’s kind word towards me.
I think about this with our kids a lot. Encouraging doesn’t always come easy to me. Correcting and improving come much easier. I can see what’s wrong with something before I can see what’s right. I have to do what’s counter to my instinct and celebrate them and their successes first.
This summer, our 12 year-old Mark, who is on a very good soccer team, scored a "hat trick." Three goals in a game during a tournament they ended up winning. I got his attention and threw my hat on the field to the amusement of the other parents. I was tempted to be embarrassed about it later. Why? Because of what people I barely know think? Mark could actually remember that for years to come.
Note to self: throw your hat on the field more often. And be grateful for people like Joel who throw theirs too.