Believe In Yourself!
Healthy self-confidence can make a big difference in our lives. In this week's Torah portion, (Num. 13:31) a lack of self-confidence prevented the people from rightly moving into the land that God gave to them and caused them to have to wander for 40 years in the desert. We too can bring ourselves to great places in life by developing our self-confidence.
In our story, a kid shows another what self-confidence can do.
Barry was home alone when he heard the doorbell ring. He ran downstairs to get it and opened the door, but no one was there. At least that's what he thought at first. Then he saw a scared-looking younger kid squeezed against the corner railing of his front porch looking like he wished he could slip between two of the bars. He was holding a clipboard and a colorful cardboard box.
"Yeah? You rang?" Barry asked.
"Uh ... um ... you ... youwannabuysomecandyforcharity?" the kid blurted out.
The boy, looking even more scared, handed Barry one of the flyers he was carrying. Barry read it.
"Do I want to buy some candy for charity? Why didn't you say so? Hmm, let's see, I'll take one of those," he said, pointing to a picture of one of the colorful candy bars displayed on the flyer and pulling a dollar out of his wallet.
"Y ... you mean you really want to buy one?" the kid asked, the first hint of light glinting in his darkened eyes.
"Sure. Why not?" Barry asked.
"It's just that you're the first person who said 'yes' to me all day," the kid said with a cautious smile as he dug the candy bar out from the full box he'd been holding under his arm.
"Really? Gee, that's too bad," Barry said as he unwrapped the bar and took a bite. "But, you know, I'm not surprised," he added between chews. Noticing the kid's confused look, he went on. "If you want to sell anything, you have to believe in yourself."
"Yeah. You have to believe in yourself and in what you're doing. That's called self-confidence - feeling like you're good and you're doing something good. When I opened the door you looked like you were afraid you were bothering me or something."
"Um, that's what I thought," the kid nodded in agreement.
"But why?" Barry asked, throwing up his hands. "You were doing me - and everyone you call on - the biggest favor in the world."
"I was ... am?"
"Sure!" Barry took another bite of candy and grinned. "Absolutely! Not only were you offering me an opportunity to do a good deed and give charity to the orphanage you're collecting for, you were also offering me this delicious treat to pick up my day. What could be better than that?"
"Listen, from now on remember what I just told you whenever you knock on someone's door and I promise you you'll make tons more sales. Okay?"
"Okay!" The kid nodded enthusiastically. Barry was about to close the door, when the boy took a confident step forward.
"So ... since I'm doing you such a big favor, maybe you'll take two?" he asked with a wink.
"Now you've got it! And got me!" Barry clapped his hands and laughed. Pulling out another dollar bill, he sent the smiling kid off, a little bit richer in money ... and a whole lot richer in life.
Q. How did the kid selling candy feel at first?
A. He felt afraid to ask people to buy them from him.
Q. How did he feel in the end?
A. He had more confidence and realized he and what he was doing was good.
Q. What life-lesson do you think someone could learn from this story?
A. Sometimes, the same things we say or do will have a much different - and better - result it we say or do them with self-confidence.
Q. What does it mean to have self-confidence?
A. It means to have a healthy understanding that we are good and worthy people and that when we try to do something worthwhile there's no reason we shouldn't succeed.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. If the boy was selling the same candy at the same price, why should it matter and his success depend on whether he was confident or not?
A. A lot of choice that people make aren't based only on cold facts. Confidence inspires confidence. A self-confident person puts out a positive energy that helps make people feel good and confident about him and his cause. A person lacking self-confidence can have the opposite effect on people.
Q. Is there such a thing as being over-confident? If so, how does that differ from self-confidence?
A. Self-confidence consists of becoming aware of and focusing on the true strong points within ourselves (and there are always a lot!) and what we're trying to do. Over-confidence consists of ignoring the true picture and assuming success even when it's not warranted.