The other night we were at a playground nearby and Lee and I were up at the top with Laurel. (Some thoughtful engineer put a bench up there!) I asked David if he could climb up the climbing wall. I’ve learned with him not to make a big deal out of things like that. I usually make the suggestions and then turn away like it doesn’t matter. So David started to climb, but when he was almost at the top, he got stuck, so without thinking, I reached down, and pulled him to safety. He happily zipped down the slide, and said The wall is too hard for me.
At that point I realized that helping him (even when he asked for it) the way I did in essence said, You cannot do this by yourself. And Lee pointed that fact out (lovingly, of course). So Lee again challenged him to go up the wall. Still David resisted.
In the end, Lee convinced David to climb the wall, and of course David did just fine.
Fascinating are the effects of parental confidence. I wonder if there are any applications to other areas of life.