I was interested to read last week an interview with Michelle Obama about her new book “Becoming”.
Thinking about her greatest challenges as First Lady, some of these were in maintaining a normal routine for her children and bringing them up within a grounded and warm household whist fulfilling national expectations of office. Doubtless the children met many interesting and extraordinary people over the White House years, but what struck me about Michelle’s reflection was that despite the huge publicity she experienced, having a strong sense of self was something that she had to work at and is still working out as an adult. She wrote :
I’ve come to a place of self-confidence, but it’s something I’ll always have to keep working at. Building confidence, discovering and embracing who I am – those things have been a big part of my journey. They’re really at the heart of my memoir, and that’s reflected in the title I chose: “Becoming”. To me, becoming is an ongoing process, a constant reaching toward a better self. It’s the idea that there’s always more growing to be done.
This week, children at Prep school have been in engaged in journeys of discovery, on trips to museums and exhibitions, new places and in the peer mediation training and workshops, self discovery, becoming in its richest sense.
As a young adult and if I’m honest even as an old one (!) I have found that I doubt myself, my worth, my abilities and in part this stems from an education in which I was required to compare myself to others constantly and which was less focused on comparing myself to my own potential.
How much more are children today struggling with comparing themselves to others with the explosion of online connection that makes up their daily lives.
I found Michelle Obama’s words inspiring as they point to a process that never stops and to the rightness of that being the case.
Confidence is built through a wealth and variety of experience, through being part of an affirming culture, and through knowing that it’s okay, in fact essential, from time to time to make mistakes and learn from these.
As we head towards assessments and results season in Prep. I hope that as parents you can enjoy what successes your children have achieved and be proud of the way they learn from the bits they got wrong!
Have a great weekend.