How a Story Helped a Parent Build Self-Confidence in Her Child

Updated on April 21, 2019
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Summer vacations were around the corner. Adny, who was six years old, and his younger brother, Bek, were in a holiday mood. Adny had to prepare for a ’Show and Tell’ for his school assignment. It was a new subject for him. Adny got cold feet and refused to prepare. With tears in his eyes, he said, "I cannot do this.”

Alisha, Adny’s mom, sat next to him on the couch and told him a story - her story. She said to Adny, “Alright, let us not prepare. Do you want to hear a small story? This story is about mom and grandmother.”

Adny was relieved and excited. He adored grandmother.

A Cool Teenager

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Alisha continued. “As a young girl, riding a motorized two-wheeler in the cantonment where I lived with my parents, I was a cool teenager.”

Adny’s eyes sparkled.

“Grandfather used to go far away for work every day. Every morning he would board a bus and return home late. The arrangement made it possible for me and my younger brother to continue going to our school in the city. It was a very good school and my parents wanted us to continue our education there."

"We saw our parents working hard, Adny", Alisha said. "So, we wanted to help in whatever way we could. Grandmother would take care of the house. One of my chores was to go to the market and buy groceries."

"My dad had taught me how to ride a scooter. Not many teenagers ventured out on their own, on scooters. I was tall and strong and could manage the scooter well. Very well in fact, when dad was around to encourage me. His smile made me feel safe. I wanted to impress my mom and dad as much as I could, all the time.”

Alisha and Childhood

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Alisha’s thoughts transported her into her childhood. She remembered, how different the world outside was. Mom and dad kept her in their oasis of love. Outside the oasis was a new world, which she was exploring on her own.

Teenagers can be mean at times. Kids would stare at her when she took her scooter out. Some would laugh and the others offered snide comments at times. “Look at her!” she would hear. “Look how she will take that turn. I bet she will fall.” And the comments would pour.

"You have to be brave when you do something new, sweetheart. You have to trust yourself when others are watching you doing something they are not."

Her tall frame made her strong, physically. But as an adolescent, who was just growing out of childhood, she did not have strength in her mind to be able to handle those comments.

The Parking

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Adny shook Alisha, “Mommy, tell me what happened after that.”

Alisha said, “One day, I went to the market with my mother.”

Alisha’s mother carries herself gracefully in her five feet and a few inches tall frame.

“I was riding the scooter. Mom wanted to go to a store and she asked me to park the scooter on one side of the road, right in front of the store. The parking was at the end of a slope and that meant I had to descend a few feet and park in between other vehicles that ended up flanking my scooter closely, on both the sides."

Alisha continued, "It was difficult for me to park, but I managed anyway. We went to the store and when mom finished her work, we came out. I could sense the eyes of the people standing there, who would see how was I going to take the scooter out of that cramped space at the end of the slope. I had never done that. It was a nerve-racking situation for me. Just then, the ear-splitting sound of a boy’s laughter made my heart pound. With goosebumps and a red face, I felt diminished, exposed."

"Self-doubt crippled me. I felt thrown in front of an audience and I felt I was not prepared. My legs trembled and I felt I was going to fail."

"Adny, I turned around and told my mother, I will not be able to get the scooter out of this place. I cannot do this."

"Grandmother said gently and firmly, “Who told you so?” She took her petite frame next to the scooter, yanked it off the stand, and gracefully rolled it back from the slope.”

Alisha’s mom had never handled a scooter in her life before that!

Adny burst into laughter. He started clapping his little hands.

“I walked sheepishly after her. Mother parked the scooter right in front of me and said, “Here you go". She asked me to start the scooter."

Alisha saw that Adny was listening very carefully.

“Without saying another word, mom walked around and stood next to the seat waiting for me to signal her to sit down."

"I started the scooter quietly and reached home, blushing. Mom did not say anything, never mentioned the incident, ever. No lectures were delivered, either on that day or any other day. But, I never forgot the lesson.

Trust Yourself, Believe in Yourself

"Never ever did I say again that I cannot do something, not even to myself. Without saying anything, mom taught me how important it is to believe in yourself, trust yourself."

Adny picked his notebook up and stood tall that day to deliver his speech. He has had many presentations in school after that day. Alisha never heard these words again “I cannot do this”.

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