This is the greatest gift you can give someone
What personality trait leads to happiness and success?
We are blessed in many ways in the Wiesner household. In the last month, we have gone from seven grandchildren to 10! It has been great! My wife, Janet, and I have been going from one place to another to see the newest members of the family.
When you look at these incredible little bundles of life, you can’t help but marvel at the intricacies of their tiny bodies eclipsing the most advanced computers with their most basic of human processes. It brings together family and friends and strangers alike to marvel and smile, to literally rejoice at the arrival of this new person. No pope nor president nor king – if they were present – could keep from baby talk, trying to communicate their particular welcome to the newcomer. God has never sent a clearer message of promise for the future than in the faces of newborn babies.
You wonder just what amazing things these kids will see as they grow. Some of my first memories were of ice boxes (with big blocks of ice) delivered by horse-drawn carts, World War II, the atom bomb and the first jet airplane.
What will these kids witness?
In what parts of the world will this kid participate?
What strengths will this person need as they grow up in the new millenium?
What can I do to help them?
Consider this: If you could just give one characteristic to a youngster, what would it be? Based on your experience, what would be the most helpful personality trait to be injected with, if all it took was a shot? We get sustenance, education, recreational opportunities, moral foundation, financial help and encouragement from our families. But the best educated and the most financed don’t always have the most fulfilling lives. What does it take and how can we help our young people get it?
If there is a good answer to the question, we should try to help all people get more of whatever it is, not just new people.
Here’s the good news – there is an answer.
Ask 100 prospective employers what they believe is the “most important characteristic of a new employee,” and I think 97 will say “attitude.” Ask another 100 ordinary citizens what they like best about their closest friends and most will tell you about “positive attitude.”
How do we translate the abstraction into something we can get our minds around? To me, it is when someone communicates quietly and confidently, “Yes sir, I can do that. And together we can do even more!” When you meet someone like this, you want to be around him or her; you want to help them accomplish. They are leaders.
To help develop these characteristics, a child needs thousands of confidence-building experiences while growing up. We help when we give them the hammer and let them make a few mistakes; we hold them back when we grab the hammer and say, “I can do it faster!” When we set them up for success through hard work, we will see real confidence develop; shortcuts and “easy money” only sow seeds of self-doubt: ”Can I really do this myself?”
We teach them to communicate by taking them seriously and listening carefully to their ideas, never stopping from the time they are toddlers. We show them how to live by putting business in its proper place, always having time for people, fun and worthwhile projects.
With all the people in our lives, particularly the ones who look to us for some of the answers, we should ask ourselves, “Is what I’m about to do going to make this person more confident or less?” Then decide what to do. To give genuine confidence is the greatest gift of all.