Empowerment

This is the story of Madeline and how she pushed Scaredness and Sadness away to make room for Confidence in her life. She decided that she would like her story to be told so that it could be used to help other children with the same kind of problem.

Madeline was having a hard time getting along with another girl in her class. They had once been friends, but something had gone wrong and this girl started to say mean things that upset Madeline, often leaving Madeline in tears. She hated crying because the other kids would call her a baby when she did. Scaredness seemed to like this and got Madeline so worried that some of her hair started to fall out.

The worst place to be was on the school bus. That was where she got teased the most. Scaredness had Madeline so worried about catching the bus that her mom had to start picking her up from school.

Madeline wanted to do something about how Scaredness was messing up her life and stopping her from having fun. She started watching how Scaredness worked in her life and found things started to get better. One thing she worked out was that Scaredness was most strong in the mornings. This was because Confidence was a bit lazy and liked to sleep in!

With the help of Mom, Madeline learned to remember not to walk out of the house without waking Confidence up first. This was a really smart move, and pretty soon things started to get better. It was not that people stopped being mean, although that did get better, too; it was that Scaredness and Sadness couldn't use other kids' meanness to upset Madeline so much with Confidence there to protect her.

What Madeline started to notice was that when a girl who had been nasty before called Madeline over on the playground, Scaredness's trick was to whisper in her ear, "Uh oh, she's going to bully you," and Madeline would feel frightened. But as Confidence started to be more awake it would talk in her other ear and say: "It's okay. You can be strong. You can handle this."

With Confidence around, Madeline began to discover that often there wasn't a problem there at all. The girl actually wanted to be nice, and Scaredness was tricking her. This was not always how it was. Some girls could still say mean things sometimes, but, by listening to Confidence ("You are okay. Remind yourself of the nice things about you.") Madeline was able to stand up for herself.

Pretty soon Madeline felt ready to catch the bus again, but, because this took a lot of courage, she thought it was important to make some big friends so that she would feel safer. These big girls, in more senior years, all promised to say hello to Madeline when they saw her on the bus. It was great to have a whole lot of "big sisters" looking out for her. Madeline felt so confident that one day she even got mad at a girl who was mean to one of her friends.

Madeline figured out that Scaredness was also making her feel worried about schoolwork. Scaredness was whispering in her ear that she'd got everything wrong and that she would get into trouble. It made her feel bad when she took longer to get her work finished than the other kids. In fact, Scaredness was really pushing and shoving her around in the classroom. This was especially true in math, but also sometimes when she was doing harder work in English. Scaredness would get her so worried that she would feel sick, or need to go to the toilet, or need to get a drink so she could get out of the classroom for a while.

When this happened, Madeline realized she needed to wake up Confidence here in the classroom, too. She understood how anyone could doze off in some lessons. Confidence helped her to feel better about showing her work to the teacher—"Showing her will help you to learn," said Confidence, "and I bet you made less mistakes than what Scaredness says." She learned that most of the time Scaredness was tricking her.

Mom had the idea that they could help to wake up Confidence by taking Madeline to a math tutor after school. Madeline thought that doing extra math was a bad idea at first, but she soon found that the extra practice helped her to feel more confident in math at school. ("See how well you are doing?" encouraged Confidence.) It was the same with cursive writing. She had been so slow at it, until she started practicing at other times. One day she found she got through her work so quickly she was already doing extra work for the teacher before the other kids had finished!

Madeline realized that Confidence had introduced her to another friend called Stickability. Stickability ("Keep trying—the more you do it, the better you become") was what helped her to practice until she got things right. She remembered that Stickability had helped her in the past but she didn't know its name then. She had once thought that she would never be able to ride a two-wheeler bike without training wheels, but she had stuck at practicing until one day she could do it! With Stickability as a friend she should be able to get confident at lots of things.

One day Mom thought it was time to check Madeline's hair—and guess what? No new hair had fallen out! In fact, on another day when Mom checked her hair she found that there was new growth. Madeline felt really proud that she had worked out a way to solve her own problems.

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