To change the world, teens must know the good in themselves
For our senior project, we interviewed 50 students, asking them what they love about themselves. We were trying to determine how important it is for teens to have self-confidence.
We assumed younger children would answer quickly and confidently, middle-school students might not see their own beauty and older teens would finally know themselves enough to answer well. What surprised us most was that 20 percent of the students we interviewed could not answer the question at all, and only 10 percent had a quick answer ready.
As graduating high school seniors, we see the importance of building confidence among teens. After all, as we prepare to go out in the world, we must know what’s good and beautiful about ourselves. Otherwise, no one else will, either.
We both admit, it’s not easy to identify what we love about ourselves. In our society, such comments are interpreted as bragging, and we’re discouraged from doing that. And yet, it’s easy to find something beautiful in others. Why is it so hard to see our own beauty?
The youngest children we interviewed were quick to say things such as “I like to invent,” “I’m really fast at running” and “I get a lot of love.”
Even though our school does a good job introducing technology at a later age, children as early as fourth grade are watching TV shows that send messages that you can’t feel a certain way, or that you have to look a certain way.
We discovered that from fourth grade until even the middle of high school, students weren’t used to thinking about themselves with love.
While some teens answered “my eyes” or “my hair,” a few seniors said they loved their mind. It was a beautiful thing to hear because it’s not just physical.
We’ve all had an insecure part of our lives. But confidence breeds confidence. And that’s how we make the world better.
As seniors, we are facing so many big changes—deciding where to live, making new friends, going to college or working. Our parents’ job is done; we have to stand on our own.
Without confidence, how is that possible? You need confidence to voice who you are, and if you know who you are, you can tell others and not be hidden.
If we cannot identify something great about ourselves, it’s more difficult to form relationships. If you can’t love yourself, it would be hard for someone else to.
To get huge things done or make a big impact in the world, we need to work together. It’s hard to work with others when you don’t know what you want for yourself.
This project showed us that having confidence is even more important than we realized.
Being kind to ourselves, finding talents and skills that are unique to each person and building positive energy is a great place to start if we want to be successful. We hope other teens realize how important it is to be confident. This is where we start to build a better world.