Confidence

2 min

Sandhya Acharya would love to have the soaring confidence of her six-year-old. Who wouldn’t like to believe that everything about you is just great?

One afternoon, in my son’s schoolyard, I watched a little boy talking animatedly with his sole audience, a little girl in pigtails. I walked a little closer to observe.

He bubbled up and down, his eyes dancing with excitement. “Watch my muscles," he gloated. He flexed his thin arms with an emphatic "Grr."

The little girl looked at him straight-faced and said, “You don’t have any.”

There was silence for a moment. Then the boy yelled back indignantly, “Oh, I do. Look at my sweet muscles. I love my muscles.” He then raced off to find a more discerning audience.

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The confidence kids display is pretty amazing. They have neither the experience nor the knowledge to back the tall claims they make. But, oh boy, the confidence! India is 30 minutes away. Tomorrow is Saturday. Today is pancake day. I know more than her. This blue ball does not belong to him. And so on.

To a parent, this can be frustrating. Do you fact-check a dubious claim when you have two minutes to get into the car? Sometimes it is easier to just say yes and carry on. This, of course, just reinforces the child’s fantasy and very soon becomes his reality.

But come to think of it, this confidence is something we all need. I could certainly do with some. I am the best dancer. I shattered the world with my speed at the marathon. I created a masterpiece with my first painting. Imagine the joy you could bring to your life with that kind of confidence. No doubts, no questions. Just statements.

So I decided to try it that evening. I would make the most egregious statements and get away with it.

I stood in front of the mirror, did my hair, straightened my top and proclaimed. “I look fantastic.”

I turned to my six-year-old son and continued, “Look at my sweet muscles. I must be working out.”

My son looked at me straight-faced and said, “You don’t have any.”

With a Perspective, I’’m Sandhya Acharya.

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Sandhya Acharya is a writer and author of children's books.

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