If we think about what is in store for our children in the cold hard world that faces them, it’s almost heartbreaking. How many teachers will ignore their potential? How many coaches will favor another kid over them? How many people will tell them they can’t—that they aren’t good enough, that their dreams are impossible, that their idea just isn’t going to work.
It’s crushing, you know, to consider just how much doubt and pessimism is out there. Just how much time and energy (as well as indifference) is dedicated to discouraging people.
Is there anything you can do about that? No, not really. None of us has the power to make the world friendly to our children (nor can we snowplow obstacles and negativity out of their path). But what can we do? We can be the opposite. We can be their greatest supporter, their biggest fan.
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person,” the famous college basketball coach and broadcaster, Jim Valvano, once said, “he believed in me.” That’s Dad’s job. To believe in their kid. To believe in them so hard that they believe in themselves. To make them know that whatever happens, however bad things get, however steep the odds, however much they doubt themselves, that their father believes in them.
Does that mean you encourage them to be a professional basketball player if they are 4 foot two and missing an arm? No, but you can believe in them—believe in their greatness, in their potential, in their value as a human being. You can never stop believing—even if they doubt it themselves—that they can make something wonderful of their life. You can believe they deserve happiness and respect.
Because they do. And in believing it, you help make it true.