I was talking to my cousin the other day. She was telling me about her son. How he watches these dance challenge videos on YouTube. And how he is afraid to dance. When she asked him why, he said “I’m not good. I don’t think I’m good at anything.”
That broke my heart.
Whenever we notice that others like us are not participating in the things we want to do, we start to convince ourselves out of it. Kids take that a step further. They tell themselves, “Only others (someone not like me) are capable of doing these things”.
Of course for a parent or guardian, this is torture.
You are sitting there thinking “How can you not see how AWESOME you are?” You wish they could see themselves as you see them. You want them to grow confident. Believe they can do anything.
And you work hard to make sure that happens.
So when you hear them say things like that, it feels like you failed. Like you didn’t do your job.
But that’s not true. It’s not your fault.
Here is the thing. You are not the only source of information for your kid.
On a daily basis, kids get messages about themselves from TV, Internet, Movies, School, etc… Most of these messages say “You are not good enough”. Or could never be good enough. Especially, to black and brown kids.
In the rare circumstance they are found good enough, they get put in a box. The comedian box, athlete box, etc… Then they are told stay in the box. So despite your daily affirmations and praises, your kid may still grow insecure. Afraid.
So what do you do? Is it possible to shield them from the overwhelming amount of negative influence? Unfortunately, no. But we also can’t afford to do nothing.
The best thing we can do is to increase their intake of positive messages. We need to surround them with the right images, stories and people. And we need to do it with discipline. It’s hard to do this all alone.
That’s really why we tell our stories. We want to fight this battle with you. We want your kids to be brave. To say “I can do it too.” Because everyone deserves to believe in themselves.
– Beserat from ETAN COMICS