'If only we could all have the confidence of a four-year-old'

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"Say some words and I'll tell you what letter they start with," my four-year-old urged.

When she got the first few correct, I couldn't help but tell her how clever she is.

"I know," she sighed. "I'm basically a genius."

The confidence that four-year-olds have is startling and hilarious, but also blatantly honest. No four-year-old lies about their skills and talents; if they're good at something, they'll tell the world.

It's something that us adults would never dare to do – unfortunately most of us are too busy talking ourselves down.

If only we could say the things young kids come out with.

"I'm the life of the classroom"

In his first year of school, a boy in my eldest child's class was going on holidays during the term.

He was quite concerned about going – not because he was worried about missing the work or not seeing his friends. No, he was concerned about how everyone else would feel because, in his words, "I'm the life of the classroom".


This is something to consider next time you're planning to take annual leave from your job: how will your colleagues cope without your good company?

"I know"

One friend of mine laughs that her five-year-old has no capacity to be modest. If someone compliments him, he'll simply say, "I know".

With many kids, there's no shyness about the fact that they do something well or have a great new haircut; they accept compliments about these things far better than we do when we've grown up.

"My favourite person is myself"

Mum of two, Belinda, says she teaches her kids to list themselves on their internal list of people they love.

Her kids have no hesitation in going along with this idea. When asked by a friend who she loves best, the six-year-old replied, "Myself".

It's certainly not a bad approach to life.

"I'm proud of you"

One of the most beautiful benefits of a child who is confident in receiving their own compliments and talking up their skills, is that they're confident enough to give compliments too.

As well as professing herself a genius, my daughter also tells others – her friends, her dad and I, and her sister – that she's proud of us and loves our company.

And that's perhaps the biggest lesson us adults could learn, too: to have the guts to let others know how special they are.