“Make it a point to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable every single day. You’ll be amazed by how empowered you’ll feel. And naturally, if you pass this lesson along to your kids, you’ll help them become confident and empowered too!” Read on as Natalie Charrette, 8th grade teacher and Vice Principal at Bay Christian School, shares how she taught her kids to overcome fear of the unknown.
Instilling confidence in our children, now grown, was always a parental priority for my husband and I. We always made it a point to role-play different scenarios to teach our son and daughter how to speak clearly, look a person in the eye when talking and shake hands firmly. We taught them to listen more and speak less. We conversed often about stepping out of their comfort zones and when feeling in doubt, ask questions within a conversation.
When our son, Tyler was in junior high, we attended a neighborhood party, which he begrudgingly joined, although it wasn’t an option. We gave him the mature task of conversing with an adult at some point during the evening, to which he just gave us the “yeah right” look. Part way through the party, as my husband and I were mingling we noticed Tyler, surrounded by an unfamiliar family. A mom, dad and kids were all talking and laughing with him. My husband and I looked at each other inquisitively and wondered who this family was… or who our son was for that matter! A little later, Tyler joined us in amazement at how well that question thing went. “So, this dad asked me if I played sports. The next thing I know we’re in a full conversation. I just kept asking him questions, then his family started talking to me. Before I knew it, we were all laughing together.”
Mission accomplished, our son learned a new skill that made him realize that speaking with adults and people you have never met is not as scary as it seems.
When our daughter Michaela was nine years old, I told her we were going to swing by the store to grab some milk. She smiled and nodded in agreement until I parked the car in front of the store and handed her some money. “Why are you giving me money?” she asked. “So you can buy some milk,” I responded. Next, it was a back-and-forth with her attempting to convince me that she just couldn’t do it. I continued to coach and encourage her that she could. After all, she had accompanied me on plenty of shopping trips. “Just come with me,” she pleaded. “You’re a big girl, you got this!” I insisted. Finally, she hopped out and went off to buy a gallon of milk.
I will admit, I sat there anxiously. “What if?” I kept asking myself as I peered into the grocery store windows, watching everyone enter and exit. Although in reality she was only in there 8 minutes (I counted), it seemed like an eternity.
Sure enough, she bee-bopped out with a huge confident smile on her face and a gallon of milk in her hand. “That was easy, the lady at the checkout was really nice” she grinned. I just smiled and said, “Great job, you can keep the change.”
Another lesson learned. The sooner we can accomplish the uncomfortable or scary things in life, the sooner we will discover our God-given talents and be able to use them for great purposes. God’s plans for us are often much bigger than our own, pulling us away from our safe space. However, the more willing and trusting we become, the wider the doors of opportunity will open for us. These are lessons that can build confidence for both us and our kids!
Natalie Charrette is an always-laughing wife to Chris and proud mom to Tyler and Michaela. She is also the 8th grade teacher and Vice Principal at Bay Christian School in Concord, CA. In her spare time, she is the owner of Simple Steps Organization, where she finds joy in helping people organize their spaces and their lives!